Category : Ethiopia

(AI) Grant LeMarquand resigns as Bishop of the Horn of Africa

It is with a heavy heart that today I must announce my resignation as the Bishop for the Horn of Africa within the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa. This decision has not been taken lightly but after consultation with Bishop Mouneer, with spiritual counsellors, and with our medical doctors. Wendy and I will leave Ethiopia at the end of October this year, although our work for the diocese will continue for a time.

The reason for our needing to leave is that Wendy’s health has made it impossible for her to continue to live in Africa. As many of you know, a few months ago Wendy experienced terrible pain in her back leading her to seek medical testing and advice. The tests revealed five broken vertebrae and a broken rib. The fragility of the bones have been attributed to osteoporosis and the fractures were due to coughing. Originally we believed that the coughing was due simply to asthma, but after further testing it now seems that Wendy has also had lung infections, perhaps several. Wendy’s doctors have been clear that returning to live in Africa would put Wendy’s lungs (and ultimately her heart) at grave risk. She will stay in Pittsburgh for the next two months while I continue to work in Ethiopia. She will come to say farewell during the month of October.

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Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Ethiopia

(CC) Philip Jenkins–Ethiopia's Martyred Monks

Italian television recently broadcast a heartrending documentary about one of the largest single acts of mass Christian martyrdom in the 20th century. This happened in 1937 when soldiers and militias slaughtered some 300 Ethiopian monks at one of the country’s holiest religious houses. In this instance, the perpetrators were neither communists nor Islamists but Catholic Italians, serving the fascist regime of Benito Mus­solini. That massacre at Debre Libanos was one in­stance in a larger campaign of several years’ duration in which Ethi­o­pian monasteries and churches were systematically bombed and subjected to mustard gas attacks. Outside Ethiopia, the persecutions remain largely unknown.

In popular memory, fascist Italy has always been regarded as a less pernicious member of the Axis powers, but in his colonial policies Mussolini yielded nothing to Hitler. In 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia, and in the words of its local commander, Rodolfo Graziani, “the Duce will have Ethiopia, with or without the Ethiopians.”

The savage Italian campaign ultimately killed several hundred thousand Ethio­pians””some sources say a million. Graziani envisaged the extermination of all local chiefs and elites, much as Hitler would later attempt in Poland. Given the profound identification of the Ethiopi­an church with national spirit, Italian forces particularly targeted religious establishments….

A global church must have a global memory. Let’s never forget Debre Libanos.

Read it all (this appeared in the Christian Century print edition of January 18, 2017 on page 45).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ethiopia, Europe, Italy, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Violence

(Tel) Sacred Mysteries-Ancient Ethiopian echoes of Roman antiquity

It is always an out-of-the-way pleasure to visit the Ethiopians who live on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Now another surprise about this ancient civilisation has arrived via Oxford: pictures and analysis of three books of Gospels of astonishing antiquity.

They were preserved in the monastery of Abba Garima at Madara in the north of Ethiopia, in what was once the Aksumite kingdom, which looked north to Egypt. One of the Gospel books (Abba Garima III in the jargon) is the earliest in the world to have portraits of the four evangelists and decorated Canon Tables. It was made as early as 330 AD, according to carbon dating.

In full-page illuminations, on coloured backgrounds, golden-haloed, large-eyed Sts Matthew, Luke and John stand, holding their Gospels in one hand respectfully cloaked in their bright vestments, the other hand held in blessing. St Mark, in a classical cloak and tunic, sits in a chair covered in a leopard-skin pattern (pictured here). His dress, we learn, resembles that worn by Virgil in a third-century mosaic found at Sousse, Tunisia. More familiarly, these are the clothes that Abraham wears in the sixth-century mosaics at San Vitale in Ravenna.

Read it all and don’t miss all the pictures.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Ethiopia, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Watch a Q&A Johann Vanderbijl with Dean of St Frumentius' Anglican Theological College, Gambella

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ethiopia, Seminary / Theological Education, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology

(ACNS) Archbishop Mouneer Anis Opens Ethiopia's First Anglican Theological College

The first Anglican theological college in Ethiopia, named after Saint Frumentius, has been officially opened by the Archbishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Mouneer Anis. Ethiopia is part of Archbishop Mouneer’s diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.

For many years, St Matthew’s Church in Addis Ababa was the only Anglican congregation in Ethiopia. But that changed with the arrival of large numbers of refugees arriving in the country seeking sanctuary from the protracted civil war in Sudan from the mid-1970s.

“Many of these new refugees were Anglican and they began churches in the refugee camps,” the college said. “Later, Anglican churches were established in the villages of the Gambella region, in the west of Ethiopia.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ethiopia, Seminary / Theological Education, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology

(US) Area Bishop of Ethiopia Grant LeMarquand describes the plight of Sudanese refugees

”˜A new refugee camp has opened a few kilometres from Gambella town. Another is being established near the town of Matar, and another in the Asosa region near the permanent camp Sherkole (the new camp has been given the poignant name ”˜Sorry’).

”˜The churches, however, are usually the first stop for the refugees. They often ask for food and shelter.

”˜As well as food aid, there are churches in the refugee camps providing literacy classes and other educational support. In this way, the churches function as community centres for many refugees.

”˜We have 15 mission centres in Gambella, each of which is a cluster of churches. Some of the churches are in established refugee camps; some are in villages and towns. We have 16 clergy and 90 lay readers in the area, so we are obtaining first-hand information about what is happening.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Ethiopia, Foreign Relations, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology, Violence

Archbishop of Canterbury preaches at Anglican cathedral in Cairo

Welby’s visit was to offer condolences for Egypt’s most recent witnesses, the twenty Coptic Christians and one Ghanaian martyred in Libya in February. The word ”˜martyr’ is derived from a Greek word meaning ”˜witness.’

Symbolically, Welby delivered to Pope Tawadros twenty-one letters written by grieving British families. One is believed to have been related to David Haines, the aid worker captured in Syria and beheaded last year.

“Why have the martyrs of Libya spoken so powerfully to the world?” Welby asked. “The way these brothers lived and died communicated that their testimony is trustworthy.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Egypt, Ethiopia, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology, Violence

(SA) Christians ”˜horrified’ by latest ISIS massacre

The Anglican Bishop for Ethiopia has hailed as martyrs 28 Ethiopian Christians shot or beheaded in Libya by members of the terrorist group known as ISIS or ISIL.

“I have just learned the horrifying news that as many as twenty-eight Ethiopian Christians have been shot or beheaded in Libya by members of the terrorist group known as ISIS or ISIL. This alarming act of violence against those that ISIS calls “people of the cross” comes just two months after twenty-one other Christians – twenty Egyptians and one Ghanian, were beheaded on a Libyan beach.” Bishop Grant LeMarquand said in a letter to be read in Ethopian churches and distributed overseas.

Bishop LeMarquand is Anglican Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa (Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia) and Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ethiopia, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology, Violence

(BBC) Turning Ethiopia's desert green

A generation ago Ethiopia’s Tigray province was stricken by a famine that shocked the world. Today, as Chris Haslam reports, local people are using ancient techniques to turn part of the desert green.

In the pink-streaked twilight, a river of humanity is flowing across Tigray’s dusty Hawzien plain. This cracked and desiccated landscape, in Ethiopia’s far north, occupies a dark corner of the global collective memory. Thirty years ago, not far from here, the BBC’s Michael Buerk first alerted us to a biblical famine he described as “the closest thing to hell on earth”.

Then Bob Geldof wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas? – a curious question to ask of perhaps the world’s most devoutly Christian people – and thereafter the name Tigray became synonymous with refugees, Western aid and misery. The Tigrayan people were depicted as exemplars of passive suffering, dependent on the goodwill of the rest of the planet just to get through the day without dying.

But here, outside the village of Abr’ha Weatsbaha, I’m seeing a different version. From all directions, streams of people are trickling into that human river. You hear them before you see them – some chatting excitedly, others singing hymns – as they converge on a viciously steep valley at the edge of the plain.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethiopia

([L] Times Leader) Ethiopian Christians are the latest victims of an expanding reign of terror

The Archbishop of Canterbury was in Cairo yesterday to show solidarity with Egyptian Christians murdered by jihadists two months ago. His visit was made more timely even as it was overshadowed by yet more murders. As he gave letters of condolence to the families of the victims of Islamic State’s last massacre of Christians, IS released sickening video footage of the next.

The latest film from the terrorist organisation holding the Middle East to ransom is as barbaric as anything it has produced. Prefaced with footage of jihadists vandalising Christian churches, the 29-minute video shows militants holding two groups of prisoners who they claim are members of an “enemy Ethiopian church”. Twelve are shown being beheaded on a beach. At least 16 more are shot in the head elsewhere. Both groups are thought to have been murdered in Libya.

Subject to verification of the footage this brings to more than 50 the number of Christians killed by IS in recent weeks. The strategy is clear. The leadership of the so-called caliphate, under pressure in Iraq, is seeking to expand its reign of terror in North Africa and in particular to sabotage efforts to bring stability to Libya.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ethiopia, Foreign Relations, Islam, Libya, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Statement by HG Bishop Angaelos following the murder of Ethiopian Chrstns by Daesh (ISIS) in Libya

The confirmation of the murder of Ethiopian Christians by Daesh (IS) in Libya has been received with deep sadness. These executions that unnecessarily and unjustifiably claim the lives of innocent people, wholly undeserving of this brutality, have unfortunately become far too familiar. Once again we see innocent Christians murdered purely for refusing to renounce their Faith.

The Christians of Egypt and Ethiopia have had a shared heritage for centuries. Being predominantly Orthodox Christian communities with a mutual understanding of life and witness, and a common origin in the Coptic Orthodox Church, they now also share an even greater connection through the blood of these contemporary martyrs.

This sad news came on the day that His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury visited His Holiness Pope Tawadros II in Egypt to personally express his condolences following the similar brutal murder of 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians in Libya by Daesh in February of this year.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethiopia, Foreign Relations, Islam, Libya, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Hundreds of Ethiopian Christians celebrate at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Hundreds of Ethiopians made a pilgrimage to Liverpool to mark a 2,000-year-old festival.

Followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church descended on Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral to honour the Timkat tradition.

The festival celebrates Jesus’s baptism in the River Jordan with a 24-hour spectacular of singing, chanting and prayer.

One of the highlights of the celebration is the parading of the Tabot ”“ replicas of the tablet of stone on which the 10 commandments were inscribed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ethiopia, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(BBC) South Sudan government and rebels 'agree to end fighting'

The government and rebels in South Sudan have agreed to end fighting and form a transitional government within 60 days, Ethiopia says.

The regional Igad bloc, mediating the conflict, has threatened sanctions if they fail to abide by the agreement.

It follows a rare meeting between President Salva Kiir and rebel chief Riek Machar in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Previous deals to end the violence have been broken by both sides, compounding the worsening humanitarian crisis.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ethiopia, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Poverty, Sudan, Theology, Violence

The Amazing Rock-Cut Churches of Lalibela

Recently I came upon…[a] photo of worshippers gathered for Mass in Ethiopia…“WHAT?” I thought. “Where is this?!”

And so began my research into the fantastic rock-cut underground churches in Lalibela.

In the twelfth century, King Lalibela, a member of the Zagwe dynasty which had seized the throne of Ethiopia around 1000 A.D., sought support from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. To garner support, he commissioned a series of twelve extraordinary churches in the small town of Roha (now renamed Lalibela). He hoped to create a New Jerusalem, a pilgrimage site for Christians who could not make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Ethiopia, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(Indpndt) The spirit of a pure Christianity: Exploring Ethiopia's stunning subterranean churches

Ethiopia was cut off for centuries from the wider Christian world by the Islamic conquests to its north. During that time, its church flourished in isolation, untouched by and ignorant of the theological disputes dividing Europe. That means its traditions provide insight into an older, perhaps purer and certainly more mystical form of Christianity ”“ one that dates back 1,600 years and therefore, in its unaltered forms, bears witness to a liturgy practised only a relatively brief period after the time of Jesus Christ.

To better understand this, I had come to Lalibela, Ethiopia’s self-proclaimed “New Jerusalem”. Here, I thought, I could engage with the religion and its beliefs. What I had not expected was that I would also get to see one of the world’s most impressive ”“ and most affecting ”“ architectural marvels.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Ethiopia, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Parish Ministry