Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Holy Synod Denounced Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriages

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Holy Synod Denounced Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriages

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ESG – OCP News Service – 07/06/2024

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia: During Its biannual conference held from May 29, 2024, to June 5, 2024, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s Holy Synod strongly condemned homosexuality and same-sex marriages, asserting that these practices undermine individual identity (personhood), disrupt family dynamics, and weaken societal bonds. The Holy Synod deemed both acts as incompatible with natural law and ethical standards. Additionally, the Holy Synod emphasized that homosexuality and same-sex marriages, which can lead to psychological instability and go against one’s conscience, are explicitly prohibited in the Holy Scriptures – as decreed by God, in the Church’s canons – the Nomocanon, and the Civil Code.

The Synodal Assembly of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was opened with a powerful address by His Holiness Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Church. Quoting scripture to indicate the current state of the Church, the Primate highlighted the challenges faced by the Church from various directions, both internal and external.

In his speech, Abune Mathias expressed concern over power struggles, greed, and division within the Church, leading to a decrease in acceptance of traditional values and beliefs. He specifically called out an uncanonical ordination in Axum, Tigray, as a symptom of the broader issues facing the Church.

Using scripture to emphasize the importance of unity and peace, the Patriarch stressed the need for discussions and wisdom in resolving conflicts. He urged the Synod to come together to find solutions that would benefit all parties involved and bring about reconciliation.

Following the opening remarks, a committee of seven Archbishops and Bishops set agendas for the assembly. After ratification, discussions were held and the outcomes were shared with the public through a press release on June 6, 2024.

The Holy Synod’s decisions were centered around the unity of the Church, expansion of the Apostolic mission, spiritual growth, and safeguarding the faithful.

One key pronouncement made was the establishment of a delegation of Archbishops, led by His Holiness, to improve relations with the government. This decision came after His Grace Abune Lukas, the Archbishop of East Australia and Head of the Department of Monasteries in the Patriarchate, made a controversial statement about the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, resulting in a 6-year prison sentence in absentia. Additionally, three archbishops (His Grace Abune Petros – the Secretary of the Ethiopian Holy Synod and Archbishop of New York and Its Surroundings, His Grace Abune Theophilos – Archbishop of North California, Arizona, and Nevada, and His Grace Abune Yacob – Archbishop of Atlanta, Georgia and Its Surroundings) were denied entry into the country, prompting the need for a delegation to hold dialogues with government bodies.

The delegates include:

  1. His Grace Abune Gorgorios the Archbishop of East Shewa
  2. His Grace Abune Henok the Archbishop of Addis Ababa
  3. His Grace Abune Sawiros the Archbishop of South Western Shewa and Sheger City Administration and Head of Meskaye Hezunan Holy Savior Monastery
  4. His Grace Abune Markos the Archbishop of the Department of Evangelization and Apostolic Mission of the Patriarchate
  5. His Grace Abune Natnael the Archbishop of Minesota and Its surroundings
  6. His Grace Abune Ermiyas the Archbishop of North Wollo
  7. His Grace Abune Abraham – General Manager of the Patriarchate, the Archbishop of North Gojjam and Bahir-dar Dioceses (as a coordinator)

The Holy Synod also called for dialogue between conflicting parties in the country and for an end to bloodshed. It also ordered the redevelopment of a site given as a replacement for the Church’s building demolished by the Addis Ababa Administration for a Corridor Development Project.

Other decisions made during the meeting included approving the transfer of Bishops and Archbishops to other dioceses (which includes Bishops that were appointed around ten months ago ethnically to serve the dioceses which they now are unable to minister), deliberating amendments to a draft on religious matters, denouncing homosexuality and same-sex marriages (about which a detailed stand of the Church will be expressed in the future), and approving the establishment of an ecclesial school in Gamo and Its Surroundings at Zigiti Debre Selam Abune Gebre Menfes Qedus Church for the Diocese.

The Holy Synod also decided on evaluating and sending servants abroad for ministry, creating a press releasing and sermon delivery statute, adding structural organizations for the Ten-Year Perspective Plan of the Church in Church Law, and approving the annual budget of the patriarchate for the year 2024/25.

– His Holiness’ Secretariat
– Tewahedo Media Center
– Addis Ababa Diocese Media
– Mahibere Kidusan Broadcasting Service

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