Eritrea accused of manipulating Orthodox Church leader’s reappearance

Eritrean authorities have stage-managed the first public appearance in 10 years of Patriarch Abune Antonios, rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide has told RFI. The former head of the country’s Orthodox Church had been under house

Eritrean authorities have stage-managed the first public appearance in 10 years of Patriarch Abune Antonios, rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide has told RFI. The former head of the country’s Orthodox Church had been under house arrest for opposing the government’s attempts to control one of the country’s largest Christian denominations.

“Everything points to trying to manage a narrative because of international pressure,” said Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s Khataza Gondwe, referring to Antonios’s appearance during mass at a cathedral in Asmara on Sunday.

Despite being present at the service, Antonios was not allowed to say anything, people were forbidden from taking photographs and afterwards he was returned to where he is being detained, said Gondwe. “There were suspicions that this might not be all that it cracked up to be,” she added.

The European Parliament recently adopted a resolution calling for the patriarch’s release, while the French government in June said that his continued house arrest showed the Eritrean government’s “serious and persistent violation of the freedom of religion or belief and fundamental freedoms”.

“There’s been mounting international pressure about his case, he recently turned 90 years old, there was no justification for holding a 90-year-old under house arrest for all these years,” said Gondwe, who heads up the London-based religious rights group’s Africa team. “I think it was becoming an embarrassment.”

Last seen in public in 2006

The former leader of Eritrea’s Orthodox Church had protested against the government’s meddling in church business and was last seen publicly at the end of 2006.

“He had increasingly been objecting to government interference in church affairs. The government wanted to tighten its control of the main Christian religious group,” said Gondwe.

“He was progressively deprived of his powers, including administrative oversight of the patriarchate, then he was confined in his residence and later in 2007 he was taken to an unknown destination and held under house arrest that became increasing stringent,” she added.

The European Parliament’s resolution outlined the patriarch’s refusal “to excommunicate 3,000 parishioners who opposed the government” as one of the reasons for his detention. Since then “he has been held in an unknown location where he has been denied medical care”, the adopted text said.

A statement by Eritrea’s Orthodox Church said that the “issue” with Antonios had “come to an end” on 11 July following a meeting of the Synod, according to a translation of the Tigrigna statement by the church’s diocese in the US and Canada. It said the meeting of the church’s council had “come to conclusion with full reconciliation, peace and love”.

Eritrea’s Orthodox Church plays an important role in a society that is reported to be approximately half Muslim and half Christian. It is the largest Christian denomination in Eritrea in terms of membership, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

Eritrea’s Minister of Information Yemane Gebremeskel told RFI that “the country is a secular state and does not intervene in purely religious affairs”.

Source: RFI

aseye.assenna@googlemail.com

Review overview
6 COMMENTS
  • Habtu July 20, 2017

    This is just ridicules! Let the father free! Not even in medieval times this world has seen this kind of cruelty! While at it, either charge and prosecute in the court of law or set free all prisoners!

    • k.tewolde July 20, 2017

      It is indeed medieval times in adi halo where the barbarians rule with camouflaged outfit and shida without the rule of law.The only difference is they are sporting AK=47s instead swords and shield.

    • k.tewolde July 20, 2017

      It is indeed medieval times in adi halo where the barbarians rule with camouflaged outfit and shida without the rule of law.The only difference is they are sporting AK=47s instead of swords and shield.

    • Almaz July 22, 2017

      Let us rejoice his freedom people! one at a time people will be free (not sure if this guy was in prison??) one thing for sure comments like yours is counterproductive. . When are you and/or your likes start to accept the fact on the ground?

      Almaz

      • k.tewolde July 24, 2017

        Almaz,are you smoking some good weed? ‘…..start accepting facts on the ground…’!!?, please take off your HGDEF VR goggles. that might help to put things in perspective.’not sure if this guy was in prison??’ ‘this guy’!!! referring to the holiness,are you one of the spice girls or a hip-hop groupie? is this how potent the HGDEF potion is? Holy molly!

  • B.Russom July 21, 2017

    What a curse to be dragged by such morons who cleansed the morality and core human values of our culture and society and in fact all other society in modern era even china squeakily clean.
    The dictator has done it over and over again. It is shame on him before, but shame on us for not doing anything.
    1. It is beyond any human decency and normality to declare war and shoot bare handed handicaps. Mind you, those cowards were dodging under the rock while before and after handicapped were ambushing enemies with grenade hand and hand in a pitch fight. Hence, become one.
    2. Then, the dictator declared himself as hero and foolish we accepted them ululating and applauding until tongue and arms get locked and numb.
    3. However, as one could look outside appearance of the leaders including the dictator, they were enjoying an ordinary life while thousands mowed down in many unnecessary wars. (Nezi dikum teawitana tubluna)
    4. Now, there is no discretion or dissonance but out right abuse of all: handicap or not, veteran or not, old or young, widow or orphan, prominent believer or not.
    5. It is every season harvest of disgusting cruelty led by an insane leader and yes men. Most even do not have high school diploma to make a fair judgement but follow..
    6. The leader instead of going to church to cleanse his megalomaniac crime and repent to the people of Eritrea and in fact many other people in the region.. He wouldn’t confess.
    7. We accepted him as blessing he became a curse.
    8. It is only those who grew up destitute; void of father and mother’s love, could devise such wickedness. Besides, how dare and foolish of them to consider such abdominal behavior smart, philosophical, strong and noble leaders action unless they are physically living in the earth but guided by whispering extra-territorial.
    9. I am apathetic of what consequence could befall on them but also feel pity as human being; as that evil personality is still cornered with watchful eyes in Africa, America and Europe.
    10. Probably china and North Korea cladding their eyes as being ashamed of his feeble imitation to join their party. As the North Korea diplomat become irritated to compare his great dictator to our second class dictator.
    11. Don’t forget that the dictator and his yes men are also in psychological prison, Prison of fear, regret guilty consciousness and confinement.
    12. Dictators could only visit a dictator one like them or worst. It is comforting one another.
    Dictators have a reason to isolate the people from outside world. If everyone leaves the country, they would feel lonely because they have no guts to face the people abroad since they know hates them.
    Eritrea and its people all over the world are hence in prison including our dictator and Abune

POST A COMMENT