Yonas Gredew (Delegate of Ethiopia and All Africa)- OCP News Service – 10/8/17
Addis Ababa-Ethiopia: Situation of detained Abune Antonios, the canonical Patriarch of Eritrea has worsened, reports Human Right Watch Eritrea.
Recently, Patriarch made his appearance in a so-called ‘reconciliation meeting’ with the Holy Synod at the St.Marys Church in the Capital City of Asmara. It was nothing but another ‘drama’ organized by the government authorities to bluff the international community. The Patriarch was not allowed to lead the prayers nor bless his faithful. No statement was made directly by Abune as well. An official letter was presented at the event, but the original content of the letter was different from what was agreed between the Patriarch and the authorities.
The pseudo reconciliation process is more than enough for the authorities to appoint another Patriarch of their choice. The Patriarch is still under house arrest in Asmara guarded by government agents and the Primate does not have access to the church for prayers. Attempts of the Authorities to replace Abune Antonios has failed so far.
HRCE’s Director, Elsa Chyrum states that the earlier reports of an attempted poison on the Patriarch is credible. The authorities wish his demise, which will be final nail in the coffin in which they have placed the church of Eritrea.
Brief Outline of the Detention
A secret session of the Holy Synod in January 2006 at Asmara formally removed Patriarch from his office and on 20th January. Two priests accompanied by Government security forces invaded Patriarch’s residence and confiscated his personal pontifical insignia.
Violating the church canons and constitution, the government installed Bishop Dioscoros of Mendefera as the anti-patriarch on 27th May 2007 (Dioscoros passed away in 2016). Abune Antonios on the same day was forced to move out of his office and has been detained at an undisclosed location somewhere in the capital city of Asmara.
OCP News Service