Abune Antonios made a public appearance

- Holy Synod accepts Abune Antonios' Apology.

- Abune Antonios made a public appearance with the rest of the members of the holy sinod and participated in the holy Liturgy at the saint Mary church. on 09 Aug 2016 - Abune Antonios has asked for love, peace and forgiveness in a letter to Eritrea's Holy Synod.

The former Patriarch Abune Antonios, born July 12, 1927, was the third Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. He was deposed after the Holy synod concluded that the Patriarch compromised the safe guarding of the Faith based on the canonical law. 

On 13 January 2006, a secret session of the Holy Synod was held in Asmara to remove the Patriarch from office before he was replaced as Patriarch by Abune Dioskoros, on 27 May 2007.

Source: Madote.com
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Comments

  • He did make a public appearance, but it seems at the behest of the Eritrean government to make it "seem" like they're not putting him under arrest. Unfortunately after that "public appearance", he's still under arrest
  • Dear minasoliman,

    As a children of the Christian Orthodox faith, involving the Church in politics is not wise as you seem to suggest. I suggest you learn the facts to understand the truth surrounding this matter. Let me say this, I have read more than few postings here and there with a complete distorted facts regarding the former Patriarch. The distortion was framed by no one else than the source of the ex-patriarch’s downfall, the heretic and revival protestant elements with in the EOTC during the early 90th. The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church Synod, the highest authority, must defend the faith from renewals and heresy or heretics and just did that with ex patriarch Antonios. Just incase you miss it, here is another public event took place the other da.

    http://lisantewahdo.org/index.php/16-2015-07-31-06-18-02/907-2017-07-28-12-41-37


  • Hello Haymanoteabew.  I love your name.  "Faith of the Fathers".  Very nice.

    I have a few questions:

    1. Was His Holiness in fact restored to his Throne as Patriarch?

    2. Did he concelebrate the Liturgy with the other members of the Holy Synod when he recently appeared at St. Mary's in Asmara?

    3.  Why is it that he was not able to speak when he appeared at St. Mary's?  Why have we not heard any public statements from him?

    4. I agree wholeheartedly that "reform movements" - those trying to introduce Protestant teaching or practice into the Orthodox Church - are doing the work of Satan whether they realize it or not.  Was His Holiness formally charged with heresy or with aiding this movement by the Synod?  Why was no clear statement released for the benefit of the sister churches and the international community in English or other international languages?  I am sure you realize that linking to a page in Tigrinya that most of us here cannot read doesn't help us to understand your point any better.

    Thank You in Advance,

    A.N.

  • Greetings AntoniousNIkolas,


    thank you for your interest and engaging on my post and happy you liked my name.


    I have to admit this situation is a tragedy no one wants to talk about and unfortunately conveniently manipulated to fabrication by political motivated political religious enteritis.


    You have poised great questions i would happy to share my insight and not as an expert of the matter according to the order listed.


    1. Was His Holiness in fact restored to his Throne as Patriarch?


    A/ So far there is no indication pointing to suggest the exact term " Patriarch " is used or his exact rule stated during the recent public announcements by the office of the Synods.
    One thing is sure, his name has been mentioned inside and abroad during liturgy service as "liqe papas" which is reserved specifically for the patriarch. Here, there are a number of "liqane papasat" as a members of the Synodos however the patriarch himself a "liqe papas "when elected as a leader he takes the title patriarch.
    The question is why there is no statement by the office of the Sinodos clearly stating the title " patriarch " or something to that effect to tell us he has been reinstated to his position as Patriarch.
    I will try to share MY HUMBLE OPINION based on the history of his removal when i get to your Q#4 bellow


    2. Did he concelebrate the Liturgy with the other members of the Holy Synod when he recently appeared at St. Mary's in Asmara?


    A/  Yes,  on 16 Jul 2017


    3.Why is it that he was not able to speak when he appeared at St. Mary's?  Why have we not heard any public statements from him?


    A/  It's a matter of both cultural and spiritual perspective of this ancient Christian community. Public statements and speeches are not the "best" characteristic of this part of the globe. silence, patience and passivity is the norm especially on matters of sensitive issues for good reason. As far as the public inside the country, they get their information from the local church “sebeka gubae” ሰበካ ጉባኤ
    “”badly translate as “the board”. By the way, this is a non issue for the public at large inside as well as outside the country with the exception of very few disgruntled, excommunicated self calling priests outside the country who are also belongs to the failed renewal movement and political agenda. There is a lot to be said on this.


    4.……………Was His Holiness formally charged with heresy or with aiding this movement by the Synod?  Why was no clear statement released for the benefit of the sister churches and the international community in English or other international languages?  I am sure you realize that linking to a page in Tigrinya that most of us here cannot read doesn't help us to understand your point any better.


    A/ Yes he was charged and the detail has been out since. Not sure if there is one in English. I agree with you it should have been better communicated with international view in mind but again we are talking about ancient society with complete different perspective including religious experience and culture than the modern world whatever that represents. Having said this, the Holy Sinodos sent delegated to Alexandria numerous times to explain the issue despite it’s failure for reasons it has to do with the way the Coptic church manage its double standard affairs vs the rest of Oriental Orthodox churches.  I have no INFO if the sister churches has been communicated.
    Honestly, if one has to explain the situation of abune Anthonios as tragedy, the Coptic Orthodox church has the biggest part in fanning it -feeding the wolfs. Again much to be said on this.


    The Sidnodos established a case
    1/ Hoodwinking and opposing the decision of the Sinod to disperse a group of renewal members organized under “Orthodox Sunday School “ after studies and follow-up on those groups found teaching and practice contra to the Orthodox faith.


    2/ The Ex-patriarch abune Antonios also created a channel of communication line with outside  individuals to assist on divinity matters which is illegal and outside the ring of the Sinodos and “gubea liqaunt, (ጉባኤ ሊቃውንትmay be the translation of the greek word periclytos that is the body of the church examines divinity and dogmatic matters.) And 4 more charges against him.


    According to these charges and especially the first two, the Patriarch got mislead by the renewal movement within the church under the umbrella of “Sunday School” Whose members including Pentecostal and protestant charismatic movements working to dismantled the one true Orthodox faith.
    This sites stated some truth to the nature of the culprit while throw cheap shoots aiming at the government
    http://www.churchinchains.ie/prisoner-profiles/patriarch-antonios/
    "....Bible study renewal movement within the Eritrean Orthodox Church.."
    -Christian Solidarity Worldwide
    ".... He had refused requests for the closure the Medhanie Alem Church, which was linked with the Orthodox renewal movement..."
    -Christianheadlines.com
    "....The Eritrean government jailed three more leaders of the Orthodox Church’s Medhane Alem renewal movement last month"
    -morningstarnews.org
    -www.churchinchains.ie
    The list goes on. Any wonder who these bogus sites represent ? and what the motive and the string attached with abune Antonios ?
    well...go figure... Humbly saying.

    Back to part of your Q. #1
    the charges are serious and a reason for deposing the Patriach for failing to safeguard and protect the faith and so decided by the Holy Sinodos. The relevant canon laws and bylaws are available.


    Once the Patriarch stepped down from administrative duties and restricted to benediction and Church celebration Sinodos did not want to strip his title as a monk and to some extent the bishopry status, and to that end the Sinodos gave abune Antonios a canonical confession (for a luck of better word) he did not do well which made it possible for the extended time of solitary confinement. Now that abune Antonios is back as a member of the Sinodos I do not think he will regain his pre position as patriarch but will assume the non administrative duties as was the case right after he stepped down for the office of patriarch, again in my opinion.
    I hope i presented my view on ur Questions to the best of my knowledge of the situation.


    Humbely,

    Haymanot Abew

  • Hello Haymanote Abew,

    Thank you for your in depth answer.  I agree with some of the points you have raised, but I find others most unconvincing.  I would like to continue this discussion with you, but the awkard nature of this forum - which does not enable a user to easily quote another users's posts, etc. - would make an extended reply to your lengthy post impossible here.

    I am going to send you a private message with my email, and if you are willing, we can continue our discourse there.  I am also open to carrying on the discussion elsewhere, if you are not comfortable emailing me, but the mechanics of this forum are too awkward and unwieldy for me to communicate with you - or anyone - at length here.

    In Christ,

    A.N.

  • thanks, antoniousnikolas, for carrying on this conversation on behalf of all of us.
  • AN and Haymonte Abew, if you're going to continue this conversation elsewhere, please let it be public and not private since I am learning from it also. Or if you do want to take it into private messaging through email, please report back with details. 
  • Hi mabsoota.  I miss you.  So nice to hear from you again.  Thanks for your kind words.

    Hi Rem.  It is always nice to hear from you too.  Haymanotabew and I are presently trying to figure out an alternative venue of public communication.

    I apologize to everyone for being difficult, but the mods made their decision about the format they wanted to use for this forum, and I am not comfortable with carrying on in depth discussions here due to its limitations relative to my posting style.

    I'll let you know how things progress, because this is a discussion that needs to be had.  Thank you.

  • P.S. - Any discussions as to an alternative venue would be appreciated.  Alternatively, if we continue by email, I will share the contents with you with Haymanotabew's consent.
  • One of the more interesting posts I am reading! Thank you AN and Haymanotabew! I think that most of us have not heard a decent defence for the situation in the EOTC. I also strongly believe it is important to have the facts as interpreted by the opposing side before we can confidently stand behind one side. It is exactly this simple fact-seeking and open-mindedness to alternative information that could have saved the church many a schism. 

    Once this conversation is taken elsewhere, I would love to chime in and ask some more questions. 

    On a more grand-scale level, does anyone know canon-law as regards the removal of a patriarch by the synod of an autocephalous church? The removal of a patriarch seems similar enough to the removal of a Bishop to be tried under the same canon law. In this case, why is the church opposed to the removal of a patriarch by that patriarch's own synod. Does the Coptic church even have any canonical right to reject this synodal eviction seeing as the ETOC is an autocephalous church? 

    To further the question, I suggest a look into the history of the Ethiopian Orthodox church. In 1991, Abune Merkorios, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, was forced to abdicate with the change in government. This forced abdication was not necessarily an easy pill to swallow (resulting in a current "synod in exile" in New Jersey claiming Abune Merkorios [still living] as the legitimate patriarch.) Nevertheless, the Coptic Church accepted the ordination of Abune Paulos in 1992. My question, then, is what is the immediate difference between the +Merkorios---> +Paulos shuffle and the +Antonios---> +Dioskoros shuffle? 

    Anyways, just some thoughts

    RO
  • RO,
    Very good approach and Excellent questions. You hit the "hammer on the head" answering those questions are critical to the issue at hand.  That's what I was going to discuss before the forum change the venue. Thank You.
    haymanot abew
  • RO, there are some major differences between the two situations you are describing - the Ethiopian and the Eritrean - but I will not get into it here, as I said, because of the limitations of the format here.  You have my email if you want to discuss this further.  Thanks.
  • anyone got a translation?

    sorry i only know 2 words of tigrinya!

  • This is the issue with the pro-government faction.  They link to all kinds of videos and even written articles in Tigrinya as if this is helpful to the wider world, and then complain when the side they characterize as "Tehadiso" has better relations with the sister churches and the international community.  Further, they criticize the rest of us for being "misled" or "ignorant" about "the real story".  Get your act together and begin publishing in English.  There are only about 7 million people worldwide who speak Tigrinya, and if you expect us to learn it in order to hear "your side" you are always going to lose the debate in the public sphere.


    Haymanotabew, I emailed you and look forward to our discussion.

  • So, I tried to email haymanotabew at an email address he provided, but it kept bouncing back.

    Despite the limitations of this forum, I will do my best to carry on the discussion here, starting with ReturnOrthodoxy's post and then haymanotabew's.

    Before we get into that though, I will say that I have sent the video to an Eritrean friend and he has promised to provide a synopsis.  Perhaps haymanotabew can provide a translation in the meantime.

    So, ReturnOrthodoxy:

    I also strongly believe it is important to have the facts as interpreted by the opposing side before we can confidently stand behind one side. It is exactly this simple fact-seeking and open-mindedness to alternative information that could have saved the church many a schism. 

    I agree.  That said, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod are (were) not the types to operate arbitrarily or blindly concerning matters like these.  From what I have been told by bishops here, they made their determination after studying the matter thoroughly and receiving delegations from both Eritrean factions.  We on the internet may be in the dark to one degree or another, but I don't believe the same is true for the Holy Synod.  H.H. Pope Tawadros seems to be following the course set by H.H. Pope Shenouda - by whose hand the Eritrean Church came into existence as an independent entity - and this is why we have always commemorated - and still commemorate - H.H. Abune Antonios in the Liturgy and never the departed Aba Dioskoros.

    On a more grand-scale level, does anyone know canon-law as regards the removal of a patriarch by the synod of an autocephalous church? The removal of a patriarch seems similar enough to the removal of a Bishop to be tried under the same canon law. In this case, why is the church opposed to the removal of a patriarch by that patriarch's own synod. Does the Coptic church even have any canonical right to reject this synodal eviction seeing as the ETOC is an autocephalous church? 

    This is an excellent point.  The Coptic Church does not have the power to interfere with the decisions of the Holy Synod of a sister Church, and a Synod can - according to canon law - remove a Patriarch for heresy or immorality (such as having an affair, etc.).  That said, I believe the position of the Coptic Church is that a proper ecclesiastical trial never took place for H.H. Abune Antonious and that he was removed by the whim of the political regime.  If there was an ecclesiastical trial, I would love to see its minutes and transcripts, hopefully translated into a language understood by the world outside of Eritrea.

    To further the question, I suggest a look into the history of the Ethiopian Orthodox church. In 1991, Abune Merkorios, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, was forced to abdicate with the change in government. This forced abdication was not necessarily an easy pill to swallow (resulting in a current "synod in exile" in New Jersey claiming Abune Merkorios [still living] as the legitimate patriarch.) Nevertheless, the Coptic Church accepted the ordination of Abune Paulos in 1992. My question, then, is what is the immediate difference between the +Merkorios---> +Paulos shuffle and the +Antonios---> +Dioskoros shuffle? 

    The Synod in Exile is not based in NJ but on the West Coast.  That aside, this is not the same situation at all.  What happened in the Ethiopian scenario was this: a vile Marxist regime called the Derg overthrew the Monarchy and disestablished the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, opening the floodgates for the Muslims and Pentecostals that have led so many of the faithful astray to this day.  They imprisoned the lawful Patriarch, H.H. Abune Theophilos, and placed a simple hermit on the Throne named Abune Tekla Haymanote who they thought they could manipulate because of his meekness and simplicity.

    Meanwhile, Abune Theophilos lived as a confessor in jail.  The Coptic Church and the other Oriental Orthodox Churches refused to recognize Abune Tekla Haymanote because it was unclear to them if Abune Theophilos was still alive.  Eventually, the Derg executed Abune Theophilos by strangulation, but refused to confirm his death, so the status quo persisted.  Finally, after going on a hunger strike in protest of the government murdering its own people, Abune Tekla Haymanote reposed.  Some say the regime poisoned him because he was more recalcitrant than they bargained for.  Next, they exiled and imprisoned many of the Synod members until they had a rump Synod they could manipulate, and they used that to elevate a communist party member collaborator bishop name Aba Merkorios to the Throne.  When the regime fell, he renounced his Throne and fled to Kenya then the West.  In the West, he eventually established the Synod in Exile.  As you can see, he is not comparable to Abune Antonios in any respect.
  • edited August 8
    Now, haymanotabew,

    So far there is no indication pointing to suggest the exact term " Patriarch " is used or his exact rule stated during the recent public announcements by the office of the Synods.
    One thing is sure, his name has been mentioned inside and abroad during liturgy service as "liqe papas" which is reserved specifically for the patriarch. Here, there are a number of "liqane papasat" as a members of the Synodos however the patriarch himself a "liqe papas "when elected as a leader he takes the title patriarch.
    The question is why there is no statement by the office of the Sinodos clearly stating the title " patriarch " or something to that effect to tell us he has been reinstated to his position as Patriarch.

    Respectfully, how are we to interpret this statement?  It seems that you are saying that His Holiness has not officially been restored to his Throne or declared to be Patriarch, there has been no press release, etc., on the matter, but that during the Liturgy he is commemorated as "Liqe Papas", which, as we both know, is a title held by bishops other than the Patriarch.  Are you saying that he is commemorated in the Liturgy during the prayers for the Patriarch, as he is in the Coptic Liturgy and in the Liturgy as celebrated by the Eritrean Diasporic parishes still loyal to His Holiness?

    Yes,  on 16 Jul 2017

    Why are there no photos of the Concelebration?  Friends of mine who were in Eritrea at the time are saying that he did not celebrate the Liturgy, and was not received with hymns as is customary for a Patriarch or even a bishop, but rather appeared briefly after the service, blessed the people by making the cross, but was not permitted to utter a single word.  Is this accurate?

    It's a matter of both cultural and spiritual perspective of this ancient Christian community. Public statements and speeches are not the "best" characteristic of this part of the globe. silence, patience and passivity is the norm especially on matters of sensitive issues for good reason. As far as the public inside the country, they get their information from the local church “sebeka gubae” ሰበካ ጉባኤ
    “”badly translate as “the board”. By the way, this is a non issue for the public at large inside as well as outside the country with the exception of very few disgruntled, excommunicated self calling priests outside the country who are also belongs to the failed renewal movement and political agenda. There is a lot to be said on this.

    Respectfully, this seems like a dodge.  The removal and restoration of the Patriarch of an entire Church is a matter with international ramifications.  It cannot be treated as a "hush hush" matter. I am sure you see the value in communicating clearly and accurately at the very least with the Oriental Orthodox Sister Churches if not the wider world.  Are we one Orthodox family, or not?  This is not simply an Eritrean matter any more than the removal of the Coptic Pope (God forbid) would be simply a Coptic matter.  Do you see my point?

    Yes he was charged and the detail has been out since. Not sure if there is one in English. I agree with you it should have been better communicated with international view in mind but again we are talking about ancient society with complete different perspective including religious experience and culture than the modern world whatever that represents. Having said this, the Holy Sinodos sent delegated to Alexandria numerous times to explain the issue despite it’s failure for reasons it has to do with the way the Coptic church manage its double standard affairs vs the rest of Oriental Orthodox churches.  I have no INFO if the sister churches has been communicated.
    Honestly, if one has to explain the situation of abune Anthonios as tragedy, the Coptic Orthodox church has the biggest part in fanning it -feeding the wolfs. Again much to be said on this.

    Please see my post above on the ramifications of the failure of the Eritrean Church to better communicate its official position to the world.  You raise some interesting points I'd like to see fleshed out here, especially since this is a Coptic message board and you are addressing an audience primarily of Copts.  My understanding - based on what I heard from my bishop who is a member of the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod - is that both Eritrean factions sent delegations to the Coptic Synod on more than one occasion, and that H.H. Pope Shenouda III - who knew the situation very well, having, after all, brought the Eritrean Church into existence as an autocephalous sister - found the anti-Antonios faction's case to be unconvincing and in fact dictated by the Eritrean government's Department of Religious Affairs, specifically a particular layman (Yoftahe Dimetros) who has since been excommunicated by the Eritrean monasteries and removed from his government position.

    Your narrative, on the other hand, has the Coptic Church deliberately exacerbating the conflict - "fanning the flames" and "feeding the wolves"  - for its own selfish and exploitative reasons.  Could you please tell us what those are?  I am not saying we are a perfect Church, but if our hierarchy is as sinister as you make out, I would like to know.

    End Part I
  • Now, haymanotabew Part II

    (Mods, note that I am doing this as a labor of love for the benefit of the faithful, but carrying on a lengthy discussion like this given the clunkiness of this forum is a arduous task indeed!  Pray for my weak self!)

    Okay, so this is the important part.  We are coming to what is purported to be the Eritrean Holy Synod's case against H.H. Abune Antonios I.

    The Sidnodos established a case
    1/ Hoodwinking and opposing the decision of the Sinod to disperse a group of renewal members organized under “Orthodox Sunday School “ after studies and follow-up on those groups found teaching and practice contra to the Orthodox faith.


    If this is true, then I must agree that I agree that the Synod is in the right on this point.  Tehadiso "renewal" movements - which seek to reform the Church along Protestant lines are like the snake in the Garden of Eden.  They should not be permitted to teach Protestantism to our youth - leading them in Protestant songs and teaching them from Protestant books - while wearing black galabeyas.  That said, what I have heard is that His Holiness took the position that the Tehadiso elements should be given the chance to repent and be educated in Orthodoxy, and that he also objected to their being physically jailed.  I agree that the Tehadiso are definitely in the wrong and that they can act shady - I have seen videos of Tehadiso in Ethiopia saying on tape "We have converted as many Orthodox as we can externally.  Now it is time to work within the Church.  Some of us must seek ordination".  They are snakes to be sure.  But as tempting as it might be, I don't think jailing them is the answer.  Excommunication and defrocking would suffice.


    The Ex-patriarch abune Antonios also created a channel of communication line with outside  individuals to assist on divinity matters which is illegal and outside the ring of the Sinodos and “gubea liqaunt, (ጉባኤ ሊቃውንትmay be the translation of the greek word periclytos that is the body of the church examines divinity and dogmatic matters.) And 4 more charges against him.


    Are you saying here that he was actively working with Protestant denominations to undermine Orthodoxy?  And what are the other charges please.


    According to these charges and especially the first two, the Patriarch got mislead by the renewal movement within the church under the umbrella of “Sunday School” Whose members including Pentecostal and protestant charismatic movements working to dismantled the one true Orthodox faith.
    This sites stated some truth to the nature of the culprit while throw cheap shoots aiming at the government

    http://www.churchinchains.ie/prisoner-profiles/patriarch-antonios/
    "....Bible study renewal movement within the Eritrean Orthodox Church.."
    -Christian Solidarity Worldwide
    ".... He had refused requests for the closure the Medhanie Alem Church, which was linked with the Orthodox renewal movement..."
    -Christianheadlines.com
    "....The Eritrean government jailed three more leaders of the Orthodox Church’s Medhane Alem renewal movement last month"
    -morningstarnews.org
    -www.churchinchains.ie
    The list goes on. Any wonder who these bogus sites represent ? and what the motive and the string attached with abune Antonios ?
    well...go figure... Humbly saying.


    These are damning charges indeed, and you seem to have provided evidence linking His Holiness to a mismanagement of the Tehadiso affair.  That said, they also seem to corroborate the Coptic Synod's understanding that he simply objected to the government's jailing the Protestantizers and interjecting itself into Church affairs instead of letting him handle it through strictly ecclesiastical means.  Please help me to see your interpretation of the data.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am against heterodoxy and heteropraxis in the Orthodox Church by any means and am not sympathetic to any figure promoting Protestant practices, songs, or teachings, whatever their rank and whether they wear black or not.  If you are a Protestantizer - if you lead the youth in CCM, teach them from Rick Warren books - you are wrong.  Period.


    Back to part of your Q. #1
    the charges are serious and a reason for deposing the Patriach for failing to safeguard and protect the faith and so decided by the Holy Sinodos. The relevant canon laws and bylaws are available.


    Once the Patriarch stepped down from administrative duties and restricted to benediction and Church celebration Sinodos did not want to strip his title as a monk and to some extent the bishopry status, and to that end the Sinodos gave abune Antonios a canonical confession (for a luck of better word) he did not do well which made it possible for the extended time of solitary confinement.


    Forgive me, but this is unclear and I want to be able to understand you better.  It seems like you are saying that after removing His Holiness from power, the Holy Synod gave him some kind of theology test, which he failed, so they locked him up (in your words "an extended period of solitary confinement".  This doesn't sound like an ecclesiastical decision to me.  Also, what do you mean they didn't want to strip him of his monasticism and to a certain extent his status as a bishop.  He either is a bishop or he is not.  Can you please clarify? 


    Now that abune Antonios is back as a member of the Sinodos I do not think he will regain his pre position as patriarch but will assume the non administrative duties as was the case right after he stepped down for the office of patriarch, again in my opinion.


    So His Holiness is now a member of the Holy Synod, but not a Patriarch.  Correct?


    I hope i presented my view on ur Questions to the best of my knowledge of the situation.


    I sincerely appreciate the effort and hope that we can all gain a better understanding of the true situation and one another's positions through dialogue.

  • AN, Thanks you very much for your well thought out answer! I appreciate your time and care to respond. Please see my responses below to continue this discussion!

    I agree.  That said, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod are (were) not the types to operate arbitrarily or blindly concerning matters like these.  From what I have been told by bishops here, they made their determination after studying the matter thoroughly and receiving delegations from both Eritrean factions.

    Respectfully, and with full confidence in your intelligence, I feel like this entire paragraph of a response is sort of a cop-out. It essentially negates the entire purpose of this thread. It essentially sums of this ENORMOUS question with, "Trust me bro, its the pope! He knows what he's doing." But that doesn't speak to the issue much. The reality is that, until this point, I have not seen any reason to refuse the right of the EOTC synod to exile their patriarch. The fact that Pope Shenouda granted them their own patriarch does not give him or his seat the right to over-reach into the affairs of the church, nor does it (by virtue of itself) confer any sort of confidence in this decision. 

    This is an excellent point.  The Coptic Church does not have the power to interfere with the decisions of the Holy Synod of a sister Church, and a Synod can - according to canon law - remove a Patriarch for heresy or immorality (such as having an affair, etc.).  That said, I believe the position of the Coptic Church is that a proper ecclesiastical trial never took place for H.H. Abune Antonious and that he was removed by the whim of the political regime.  If there was an ecclesiastical trial, I would love to see its minutes and transcripts, hopefully translated into a language understood by the world outside of Eritrea.

    Ok, so we both acknowledge that the Coptic church does not have the power to interfere, and yet, it has interfered. It has effectively refused to acknowledge the right of a sister church to self govern. This is interference. If (yes, IF) what the EOTC synod is saying about Abune Antonios' protestant tendencies is true, then the synod has the right to remove him, and we are in danger of supporting a false teacher, and breaking canon in the process. As for the "ecclesiastical trial" you (and I) desire, lets get real. Shall we list the number of excommunications/exiles/removals the Coptic Synod has committed without open trial? And yet, the Coptic Synod repeatedly garners trust from its people by saying that the synod tried the man behind the closed doors of a synodial meeting. And no synod meeting-minutes are released. Just a list of accusations in "El-Keraza" magazine. If the Coptic synod may do so, then the autocephalous EOTC may also do so. If I am to trust the Coptic synod's "fair ecclesiastical trial" without solid evidence, then how can I be asked to reject a sister church's claim to the same trust? And even if the Coptic Synod has no evidence of wrong doing... it simply doesn't matter. Unless you can find me a canon that the Coptic Church has to approve of an EOTC synod's decision, the Coptic Church simply CANNOT reject the decision of the synod in matters of the internal affairs of the church. It is not it's place to do so. 

    You can't have it both ways. If it was a Coptic Bishop ordained to a diocese of "Eritrea," then sure, we can do what we want... he answers to the Coptic Synod. But Abune Antonios is a Bishop who answers to the EOTC. 

    The Synod in Exile is not based in NJ but on the West Coast.  That aside, this is not the same situation at all.  What happened in the Ethiopian scenario was this: a vile Marxist regime called the Derg overthrew the Monarchy and disestablished the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, opening the floodgates for the Muslims and Pentecostals that have led so many of the faithful astray to this day.  They imprisoned the lawful Patriarch, H.H. Abune Theophilos, and placed a simple hermit on the Throne named Abune Tekla Haymanote who they thought they could manipulate because of his meekness and simplicity.

    Meanwhile, Abune Theophilos lived as a confessor in jail.  The Coptic Church and the other Oriental Orthodox Churches refused to recognize Abune Tekla Haymanote because it was unclear to them if Abune Theophilos was still alive.  Eventually, the Derg executed Abune Theophilos by strangulation, but refused to confirm his death, so the status quo persisted.  Finally, after going on a hunger strike in protest of the government murdering its own people, Abune Tekla Haymanote reposed.  Some say the regime poisoned him because he was more recalcitrant than they bargained for.  Next, they exiled and imprisoned many of the Synod members until they had a rump Synod they could manipulate, and they used that to elevate a communist party member collaborator bishop name Aba Merkorios to the Throne.  When the regime fell, he renounced his Throne and fled to Kenya then the West.  In the West, he eventually established the Synod in Exile.  As you can see, he is not comparable to Abune Antonios in any respect.

    Forgive me for the confusion on the headquarters. I was under the impression it was in Jersey. Thank you for the correction. As regards the story, are you saying that the Coptic church then does not consider Abune Merkorios as the predecessor of Abune Paulos? If the Coptic church does not count Abune Merkorios as a legitimate placeholder in the lineage of the Ethiopian Patriarchs, then my point with this story is moot. But if the Coptic church recognizes Abune Merkorios as a patriarch in that lineage (even if we recognize him retrospectively), then I MUST ask why not Abune Dioskoros. Would you be able to find that out for me, AN? 

    Thanks so much for the dialogue my brother! God reward you

    RO
  • Greetings ,

     

    This is not professional translation and should be read as such. The video is a get together with the office of the Patriarch and synodos

     

    The third Patriarch His Holliness Abune Antonios gave general and specific Greetings

    Gave thanks to God for making it possible in meeting every one

     

    He said

    "When i went to the place where God prepared for me, in my resident, our Government assigned me a guard and properly for the last 11.5 years

    who would be privileged to have a guard?  no minister nor official have that.  By your prayer and by the care of the Holy Church i was under protection.

    When i say this we lived in harmony and like one family with the man and women in my residence (he is reference to the servant assigned to him for the daily needs)

    with joy and in peace without any "incident" thing. I am telling you brothers and my children with out any suffering. As a will of God, a comity from monastery and church "liqawent" came to visit me every week and some times monthly as is written "make peace with each other" and through the previous conversations they heard my side and I heard theirs and

    during the dialog i signed the document contained my words and they presented me and agreed with its content voluntarily. Based on that we are now in peace and friendship. "

     

    He gave thanked to God and prayed for the country, the people and the Church

    He said he is 89 years old and have minor health issue and requested a prayer to stay health for the remaining of his life

    Finally he was given the honor to do the concluding (closing) prayers.

  • First let me say, I really appreciate AN coming here and discussing this when he expressed he doesn't like this format. Thank you for not just bailing out simply because of that. 

    Second RO and AN in the same thread after all these years!!! I feel like I'm watching the Dream Team. 

    More importantly, I don't know much about the Ethiopian and Eritrean issues so I can't comment with any details (although I am learning a lot now). But I want to point out something.  

    "I agree.  That said, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod are (were) not the types to operate arbitrarily or blindly concerning matters like these.  From what I have been told by bishops here, they made their determination after studying the matter thoroughly and receiving delegations from both Eritrean factions.

    Respectfully, and with full confidence in your intelligence, I feel like this entire paragraph of a response is sort of a cop-out. It essentially negates the entire purpose of this thread. It essentially sums of this ENORMOUS question with, "Trust me bro, its the pope! He knows what he's doing." But that doesn't speak to the issue much. The reality is that, until this point, I have not seen any reason to refuse the right of the EOTC synod to exile their patriarch. The fact that Pope Shenouda granted them their own patriarch does not give him or his seat the right to over-reach into the affairs of the church, nor does it (by virtue of itself) confer any sort of confidence in this decision. "

    RO I don't think you're understanding AN's point. At every point in history, if there was any sort of issue (politics included), many bishops would seek support from other patriarchates/sees. Alexandria did with Rome when Arianism became an issue. Constantinople did it with Rome when Eutyches became an issue and so on. It was never considered over reach into the affairs of other churches. It was more viewed as consultation and adjudicating where the problem lies. It could be that Abune Antonious had/has protestant issues or it could be that his accusers were trying to placate a government regime. Both cases need intervention. Asking the Coptic Church to look into the matter and decide where ecclesial disciple should be applied is not over-reach.

    It's not like the Coptic Church picked and installed Abune Merkorios or Abune Dioskoros herself despite their respective autocephalous synods. That would be illegal ecclesiology and over-reach. It was government regimes that intervened with the Apostolic succession. 

    That said, we are not privy to any actual details. We don't know if the Eritrean synod came asking for help or if the Coptic Church demanded to hear from both sides. So I can't say for sure if it was over-reach.

     Unless you can find me a canon that the Coptic Church has to approve of an EOTC synod's decision, the Coptic Church simply CANNOT reject the decision of the synod in matters of the internal affairs of the church. It is not it's place to do so.
    That is not necessarily true. If the EOTC synod came to the decision based on lies and false accusations, the Coptic Church does have the right to reject accepting the decision of the synod and decided if Abune Antonios remains in the Coptic diptychs or not.  This has historical precedent. 

    Regarding the minutes of any ecclesial trial in English, I'd have to agree with RO here. It's not real to expect any minutes to be available to the public, much less in English. No one wants to air dirty laundry. Most people are content to know that these things are on a need to know basis. The public doesn't need to know every decision and thought of the bishops. Too much transparency can be just as dangerous as no transparency. 

    Finally, let's not forget that there was a time where this situation was reversed (sort of). It was the Coptic Church under Pope Yusab II that was plagued with accusations of simony. It was the Coptic laity that kidnapped the Pope Yusab and forced him to sign a letter of resignation and finally he was removed by the Coptic Synod. All the while, the EOTC endorsed Pope Yusab and continued to mention Pope Yusab in the Ethiopian diptychs long after the Synod removed him. 

    Ok I got that out of the way. I will shut up now and let the big boys who know their stuff talk. 
  • Just FYI,
    If I recall correctly,the church requested the government to assign a guard to prevent any unnecessary intrusion in to his residence for safety. 

    in Christ,
    H.A
  • A.N,
    Every time I sent you email, it comes back as address error and showing "[email protected]"
  • edited August 8

    AN, Thanks you very much for your well thought out answer! I appreciate your time and care to respond. Please see my responses below to continue this discussion!

    Hi RO.  I missed you, man!  I'm happy to carry on this discussion, though you know how I feel about typing on this forum.  It's like walking through hip deep mud.


    Respectfully, and with full confidence in your intelligence, I feel like this entire paragraph of a response is sort of a cop-out. It essentially negates the entire purpose of this thread. It essentially sums of this ENORMOUS question with, "Trust me bro, its the pope! He knows what he's doing." But that doesn't speak to the issue much. The reality is that, until this point, I have not seen any reason to refuse the right of the EOTC synod to exile their patriarch. The fact that Pope Shenouda granted them their own patriarch does not give him or his seat the right to over-reach into the affairs of the church, nor does it (by virtue of itself) confer any sort of confidence in this decision. 

    I think we're talking past one another here, brother.  We both agree - 100% - that the Coptic Church has no right whatsoever to interfere in the rights of an autocephalous Sister Church.  She has no more right to attempt to impose her will on the African Churches than she does on the Armenian, Syriac, or Malankara Churches.  But please understand, that is not at all what I was saying here.  I was also not saying, "Trust me, bro!  It's the Pope!"  I don't have that sort of blind confidence in the hierarchy.  Since I was unclear, please allow me to clarify my stance:

    1. Although the Coptic Church does not have the right to interfere with the rights of a Sister Church, she does indeed have the right to decide if she will accept the decisions made by a Sister Church for herself.  So, while the Coptic Church cannot depose the Patriarch of a Sister Church, she can, if she feels that Church has breached the canon law common to us all, refuse to accept that Church's decisions.  By the same token, any of the Sister Churches can do the same to us.  This has happened before in history.

    2. While I would never say "Trust the hierarchy!" blindly, what I am saying is, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of Thrice-Blessed Memory and the Coptic Synod studied this matter thoroughly when two separate factions of Eritrean clergy came to them and basically asked them to pick a side.  What I am saying is that His Holiness Pope Shenouda didn't make their choice by placing the names of the rival patriarchs in Anba Bishoy's turbine and letting Ibrahim Ayad fish around 'til he felt a slip of paper he liked.  They studied the matter thoroughly - having an intimate knowledge of the Church, since they themselves had a hand in its establishment - and after careful consideration made the determination that one side one in breach of the canonical procedure for removing a seated Patriarch.  We can argue about whether or not they reached the right decision, but I think we need to examine the evidence ourselves in order to make that determination.  I agree with you that this is not a black and white issue.  It is very nuanced, and to be honest, each Eritrean faction is trying to uphold the integrity of the Church in their own way.  May God grant them unity, and the cessation of heterodoxy in their Church and ours.


    Ok, so we both acknowledge that the Coptic church does not have the power to interfere, and yet, it has interfered. It has effectively refused to acknowledge the right of a sister church to self govern.

    Absolutely.

    This is interference.

    Not necessarily.  Forget the Coptic and Eritrean Churches for a minute here and let's speak in general principles: No Sister Church has the right to meddle in the internal affairs of another, but they do have the right to determine if they will accept the decisions made by a Sister Church.  Suppose for a second that the Egyptian government imprisoned Pope Tawadros (God forbid), exiled or jailed most of the bishops, and with a rump Synod made up of malcontents, collaborators, and people who were straight up scared, forced a decision to depose Pope Tawadros on a trumped up charge and elevate a successor they could control.  Every other Sister Church would have the right to declare this illegitimate and break off communion with us until we got out house in order.  This is precisely what happened in the case of the imprisonment of H.H. Abune Theophilos (who died a saint as far as I am concerned).  That is beyond dispute.  Iin the eyes of the Oriental Orthodox Communion, this is also the case with what happened to H.H. Abune Antonios, but I am perfectly willing to consider more evidence in this thread and elsewhere.

    If (yes, IF) what the EOTC synod is saying about Abune Antonios' protestant tendencies is true, then the synod has the right to remove him, and we are in danger of supporting a false teacher, and breaking canon in the process.

    Agreed.  But as I said, two separate factions of Eritrean clergy each separately made trips to Alexandria and tried to gain our Synod's support.  The Coptic Synod examined the evidence presented by both sides and made their determination as to who was in the right.  I don't think we can call this interference when both sides are soliciting our support.  They are not asking us to make a final decision between them, as if we are in charge over them (we are not), they are simply asking us to pick a side.

    End Part I


  • Hi again,

    I would like to post PDF or Jpg file document regarding the original charges posted by the Holy Synodos,, how do I do that ...if you can help.

    one of the charges were abune Antonios reached out to the government complaining about his disagreement with the rest of 8 archbishops and bishops synod. Too bad it's in Tigrigna language.
  • edited August 8

    I hate typing on this forum.  Even getting the paragraph spacing down is a pain.  Anywho, onto Part II:


    As for the "ecclesiastical trial" you (and I) desire, lets get real. Shall we list the number of excommunications/exiles/removals the Coptic Synod has committed without open trial? And yet, the Coptic Synod repeatedly garners trust from its people by saying that the synod tried the man behind the closed doors of a synodial meeting. And no synod meeting-minutes are released. Just a list of accusations in "El-Keraza" magazine.

    Could you cite some examples please?  And are you talking about bishops here, or simply priests and monks.  There is a difference.

    If the Coptic synod may do so, then the autocephalous EOTC may also do so. If I am to trust the Coptic synod's "fair ecclesiastical trial" without solid evidence, then how can I be asked to reject a sister church's claim to the same trust?

    There is a difference.  When a dictator involves himself in the Church's affairs and tries to remove a Patriarch he finds troublesome and replace him with someone he finds more pliant, there is reason to say that doubt has entered the picture.  If, instead of simply exiling him to his monastery, Sadat had tried to remove Pope Shenouda from his Throne and replace him with another bishop he found more palatable, every Sister Church would have a right to break communion with us until we set things right.  (As I side note, this breach of communion does not apply to the faithful receiving, but merely to concelebration with the clergy.)


    And even if the Coptic Synod has no evidence of wrong doing... it simply doesn't matter. Unless you can find me a canon that the Coptic Church has to approve of an EOTC synod's decision, the Coptic Church simply CANNOT reject the decision of the synod in matters of the internal affairs of the church. It is not it's place to do so. 

    Actually, that's not true.  All Orthodox Churches have a responsibility to uphold the canon law.  If a particular Church violates the canons by deposing a Patriarch without cause at the prompting of a belligerent government, that Church's sisters have a right to determine what the nature of their interaction with the Church in error will be.  This does not constitute interference.  Until this moment, the Coptic Church has maintained that the Eritrean Church is in error in this way, and that it is unfortunately governed by Isaias Afewerki's Department of Religious Affairs.  I am perfectly willing to consider evidence to the contrary.  In fact, I would love to see the evidence the Coptic Church based its original decision on.  I don't think we'll be that privileged though.


    End Part II
  • Part III

    You can't have it both ways. If it was a Coptic Bishop ordained to a diocese of "Eritrea," then sure, we can do what we want... he answers to the Coptic Synod. But Abune Antonios is a Bishop who answers to the EOTC. 

    True, but if the Eritrean Synod answers to a secular government's Department of Religious Affairs, the Sister Churches have every right to determine how they will greet that Synod's decision.  They are not obliged to accept a secular dictator working through a puppet Synod, shrug their shoulders, and say, "Well, I guess that is the situation in their country".  No way.  The Oriental Orthodox Communion was right, for example, to unilaterally reject the communist puppet Aba Merkorios.  Which brings me to your next point.


    Forgive me for the confusion on the headquarters. I was under the impression it was in Jersey. Thank you for the correction. As regards the story, are you saying that the Coptic church then does not consider Abune Merkorios as the predecessor of Abune Paulos? If the Coptic church does not count Abune Merkorios as a legitimate placeholder in the lineage of the Ethiopian Patriarchs, then my point with this story is moot. But if the Coptic church recognizes Abune Merkorios as a patriarch in that lineage (even if we recognize him retrospectively), then I MUST ask why not Abune Dioskoros. Would you be able to find that out for me, AN? 

    The Coptic Church - and indeed the Oriental Orthodox Church as a whole - does not recognize Aba Merkorios at all and it never has.  Unfortunately, it has never recognized Abune Tekla Haymanote either.  In the case of the latter, this is sad, because he was a simple, holy hermit manipulated through no fault of his own, and when he caught on to what was going on, he defied the dictator and perhaps paid the ultimate price.  In the case of Aba Merkorios though - who is still alive and still running his sham "synod" - he was a willing collaborator who turned a blind eye to the mass murder of his own flock, who abdicated his throne when he saw that the regime which empowered him was collapsing and he feared going on trial, so like the rest of those complicit in the Red Terror regime, he fled. 

    So far as the Coptic Church is concerned, we did not recognize any Ethiopian Patriarch between H.H. Abune Theophilos and H.H. Abune Paulos.

    Thanks so much for the dialogue my brother! God reward you

    Anytime!  It is always my genuine pleasure to dialogue with you.
  • A translation of the video haymanot posted of His Holiness Abune Antonios, which I am told is heavily edited:

    TRANSCRIPT IN FULL. My brothers, my spiritual children, I give thanks and glory to God for enabling me to see you. All praises be to God that I am able to talk with you after eleven years and six months, at such a time as preordained by God. Dear elders and my brothers, my dear young spiritual children, if mankind accepts whatever God brings his way in thanksgiving and [inaudible], God does bring all to pass. All of you, scholars of the church, know and teach this [what I am about to say]. When I was taken to the place where I had been, our Government kept me in the house under guards. I spent there eleven years and six months. Who is ever kept under guards? Not any minister, not any authority. However, I want to say to you my brothers and children, that by your prayers and the help of the Church, Abba Antonios, having been kept in the house under guards – by "under guards, I mean to say being as one family with my sons and daughters, I spent these years peacefully. [It is not clear if HH is referring to the guards here]. I do not consider this as suffering, because God willed it. According to the will of God, representatives of the Union of Monasteries and scholars of the Eritrean [Orthodox] Church brought to the place where I was the teaching of our Lord and of our fathers to "love one another." They came and spoke to me repeatedly. Our conversation was brought to the scholars of the Church and what was decided, I gave my consent to and affixed my signature. We have [once again] entered into fellowship. I have been asking God, Who hears my pleas, one thing. When I was in the place [where I have been kept] I asked God not to bring to pass what he told Adam: "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." He is the God who hears, and he heard me. Therefore, I am here with you alive, my brothers and children. Praises be to God! According to the will of God, we are able to see each other. I say, how are you all? May the helping hands of God always remain with you and your families! May God grant peace and health to our country! May God grant peace and prosperity to our Holy Church! May God also preserve the monastics and the scholars of the church in peace! We also pray that God may make this season a season with sufficient rain and abundant harvest! Again, I thank God for making it possible for me to meet with you all once again. I do have a small physical ailment and pain. Therefore, please remember me in your prayers. I am eighty-nine years old [inaudible]. I thank God.

     
     



  • Thanks, Remnkemi, for your kind words, and also for the reminder about Pope Yousab.  Well observed.  Also, you asked if the Coptic Church demanded that the Eritreans present their case to them or if the two factions came of their own volition.  I believe it was the latter scenario.

    Haymanot, I wish I could help you in terms of posting PDFs and other documents, but as you can see, I can barely manage basic posts here.  What you are asking exceeds my knowledge.  Maybe someone else can help.  In terms of email, you have to email me directly at the email address I messaged to you.  I think you are trying to send an email to the forum.  Replying to that won't work.  Enter the email address I sent you directly.

    Also, with all respect, I am not buying that His Holiness was not, in fact, under house arrest all this time, with his movements restricted, but rather that the government was guarding him during a prolonged spiritual sabbatical.  That seems just a bit too much for a rational man to swallow.  His Holiness is obviously kind, and it seems he may have won over his captors through his gentleness, but the story seems unbelievable.

    At any rate, I pray that God may restore unity to the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church, and that, along with the Coptic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Communion in general, it may be freed of all Protestant influence, all CCM and Protestant songs in the youth meetings and even in the Liturgy after Psalm 150, all Rick Warren books in the Bible studies.  To be honest, this above all is my top priority here.  "Reformed" Orthodoxy is not Orthodoxy.  It is heresy.  May God excise it from our Church and disperse the council of the Protestantizers as He dispersed the counsel of Ahitophel.

  • Thank you AN for the translation which I found inconsistancy. Some of the words are difficult to fine the exact meaning in English. In any case here the impartial correction to the previuse translation AN posted = the BOLD and Indentation is mine. The red strik is the wrong word used or added  by the editor from no where-not found in the video. 

    When I was [approached, went in] taken to the place where God wills it I had been,
    our Government placing a keeper (guard) in my residence guarding me, propperly for 11.6 years. kept me in the house under guards.
    I spent there eleven years and six months. Who is ever kept under guards? Not any minister, not any authority. [Here the expression is of admiration and honorary according to the culture which is common]--at 1:30 time mark]

    However, I want to say to you my brothers and children, that by your prayers and the help of the Church, Abba Antonios, having been stayed kept in the his residence house under guards – by "under guards, I mean to say being as one family with  the boys and girls my sons and daughters I spent these years without a thing peacefully stayed that I'm explaining to you honorable brothers and my children. It is not clear if HH is referring to the guards here]. I do not consider this as without suffering !,
    because God willed it. starting 1:48 time mark].

     According to the will of God, representatives of the Union of Monasteries and scholars of the Eritrean [Orthodox] Church brought to the place where I was the teaching of our Lord and of our fathers to "love one another." They came many days and spoke to me  repeatedly. Our conversation was brought to the scholars of the Church and what was decided, I gave my consent willingly at 3:18 time markto and affixed my signature.

    In Christ,
    Haymanot abew
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