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Full Reconciliation for Full Peace and Unity in the Eritrean Orthodox Church

Press Release Concerning His Holiness Abune Antonios, the Third Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church.

30 July 2017

We rejoice and offer our praises to God for the news of the apparent release of His Holiness Patriarch Antonios I from his eleven-year imprisonment and for the opportunity granted to His Holiness to see and be seen by the people he loves so much: the Orthodox faithful of Eritrea. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the monastic fathers who have worked indefatigably to make this situation a reality.

His Holiness’s apparent release from his physical imprisonment was an occasion of great joy. Nevertheless, the matter of Abune Antonios’ reinstatement to his Patriarchal Throne remains unresolved. Now is the time to have His Holiness return to his position without any delay. Furthermore, there can be no full resolution to the canonical crisis in our Church without Patriarch Antonios lifting the anathema he placed over the church hierarchy eleven years ago. This should happen with unquestionable transparency, and in a manner consistent with the canon law of the Church.

In order to bring about full reconciliation in the Eritrean Orthodox Church, we call again for the immediate release of the large number of priests, deacons, monastics and the laity who are languishing in prison for their faith.

Since the Canonical Archdiocese of the Eritrean Orthodox Church in Diaspora has, for over a decade, consistently called for the release of His Holiness Abune Antonios from imprisonment, it has openly expressed its support soon after the announcement of the Patriarch’s “release.”

However, we reject the incredulous new propaganda campaign which denies the imprisonment to have ever taken place; instead, claiming that His Holiness had only been on some “spiritual retreat” for over eleven years. Any effort at genuine “reconciliation” that attempts to cast aspersion on the good name of the Patriarch while whitewashing the guilt of those who are responsible for the sad canonical crisis in our Church is counterproductive to the extreme. This has to cease.

The Canonical Archdiocese of the Eritrean Orthodox Church in Diaspora.

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