ADDIS ABABA: The Ethiopian Orthodox Church patriarch, HH Abune Paulos enters into eternal rest
His Holiness Abune Paulos, Fifth Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Ichege of the See of St Tekle Haymanot, Archbishop of Axum, passed away early Thursday in Addis Ababa, aged 76.
The patriarch, who was one of the seven serving presidents of the World Council of Churches is said to have been taken ill a few weeks ago, but the cause of his death, is yet to be established.
Born in Adwa in Tigray Province of the northern part of the country, the patriarch did his education at the Theological College of the Holy Trinity in Addis Ababa under the patronage of Patriarch Abune Tewophilos.
He was sent to study at the St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States and later undertook doctoral degree at Princeton Theological Seminary.
The patriarch also lived in exile in the United States. Abune Paulos was arrested in 1974 under Ethiopia’s fearsome Derg regime. When released he fled to the US, where he spent several years in exile before returning to Ethiopia in 1991 when Meles came to power.
He was seen as instrumental in brokering peace in the Ethiopia-Eritrea border war that ended in 2000, and was awarded a Nansen Medal by the United Nations refugee agency in 2000 for his peace and humanitarian work.
Ethiopia is home to some of Africa’s oldest Orthodox churches, including a cluster of 11 ancient rock-hewn churches in Lalibella which are designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Paulos, a renowned scholar and peace advocate, worked on the reconciliation process between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
He was one of the rare exceptionally educated patriarchs in Ethiopian history after completing various degrees, including his doctoral degree, at prestigious institutions.
Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.
Source : The Africa Report