Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Patriarch of Ethiopia Elected

A special council of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church has elected Archbishop Abune Matiyas (Asrat) of Jerusalem as the sixth Patriarch of Ethiopia. Born in Sebuha, Tigray, in 1940, as Teklemaryam Asrat, the future patriarch received a traditional clerical education, being ordained a deacon in 1954 prior to his entrance into Tigray's Chohay Monastery, where he was tonsured a monk in 1962.

Two years after his tonsure and ordination to the priesthood Fr. Teklemaryam was attached to Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Abeba, eventually becoming the personal secretary of Patriarch Tekle Haimanot of blessed memory. In 1978 Fr. Teklemaryam was consecrated to the episcopacy with the name Matiyas (Matthias), eventually being elected Archbishop of Jerusalem.

At today's electoral council Abune Matiyas received 500 of the 806 total votes cast. Abune Matiyas is the second ethnically Tigrayan patriarch of the Church of Ethiopia, the large majority of whose members are Amhara or Oromo. His enthronement as the sixth patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church will be celebrated this Sunday with the participation of delegations from sister Orthodox Churches. More here and here.