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Home English Diocese Statements Archdiocese of the Eritrean Orthodox Church in diaspora sent a letter to UN Secretary

Archdiocese of the Eritrean Orthodox Church in diaspora sent a letter to UN Secretary

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In a letter addressed to the Honorable UN Secretary-General Banki Moon, Archdiocese of the Eritrean Orthodox Church in diaspora calls for the immediate release of His Holiness Patriarch Antonios from prison and provide him with the necessary medical care. It also calls for the release of those imprisoned because of their religious faith. Furthermore, the Archdiocese calls for an immediate intervention to put a stop to the unprecedented level of human trafficking in the Sinai desert, perpetrated against thousands of Eritrean youths.


May 18, 2013  Original Letter English, PDF | ትግርኛ ደብዳቤ

 

The Honorable UN Secretary-General Banki Moon
United Nations Headquarters

405 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017

"Remember those who are in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoner. Remember those who are suffering as if you were suffering with them..." (Heb. 13:3).

The Honorable Secretary -General

We, the undersigned clergy of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, are writing this letter to ask your kind help on behalf of our church leader, His Holiness Patriarch Antonios, those who are suffering religious persecution in Eritrea and the thousands of Eritrean young people who have become victims of human trafficking.

His Holiness Patriarch Antonios is a man of God who had dedicated his life to comforting the poor and feed the hungry for over 35 years. It was as a testimony of such a dedicated life that he was chosen to become a bishop, and was eventually elected Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church in 2004.

The significant portion of Eritrea’s population now lives in Diaspora. Most left the country in the 1980s and 1990s seeking refuge from tyranny and persecution.  In most recent years, hundreds of thousands of Eritreans, mostly the young, continue to flee the country to avoid religious persecution and the denial of basic human rights.  Hundreds of thousands are also currently in refugee camps in northern Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti. Thousands of these refugees who are fleeing the scourge in their homeland are falling prey to the worst form of human trafficking, degradation and modern day slavery.  A significant number of the clergy of the Eritrean Orthodox Church have also left the country. They currently live as refugees in Ethiopia, Sudan and Israel.

The persecution of people of faith in Eritrea began as early as 1993, soon after Eritrea attained its independence.  The current system of persecution is designed to prevent people of faith from freely exercising their faith as they have faithfully done for centuries.  The extreme escalation of religious persecution in Eritrea reached its crescendo with the illegal dethronement and imprisonment of His Holiness Patriarch Antonios.

Our Holy Father has been in incarceration since August 2005. He has neither been seen nor heard from. The uncanonical removal of His Holiness has been publicly denounced by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Churches that are in full communion with the Eritrean Orthodox Church worldwide. The only “crimes” for which His Holiness has suffered so much are (1) His open criticism of the Eritrean regime for its interference in the affairs of the Church (2) His dare to question the imprisonment of numerous priests and church scholars without being charged, and (3) His opposition to the government’s policy of conscripting the clergy into military service.

Government authorities have imposed restrictions on church services, catechisms and Sunday schools, resulting again in the arrest of a large number of priests and church elders.  Currently, the eighty-six year old pontiff is suffering from the debilitating effects of diabetes, hypertension and related ailments for which he has been denied medical care.

We, the undersigned clergy of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, are writing this letter requesting the kind help of your good office to bring the case of His Holiness Patriarch Antonios before your esteemed office.

We call:

(1) For the immediate release of His Holiness Patriarch Antonios from prison and provide him with the necessary medical care. 

(2) For the release of all those who are in prison because of their religious faith.

(3) Furthermore, we call for an immediate intervention to put a stop to the unprecedented level of human trafficking in the Sinai desert, perpetrated against thousands of Eritrean young people who are fleeing the suffering in Eritrea.

Respectfully Yours,

 

The Archdiocese of the Eritrean Orthodox Church in North America
The Archdiocese of the Eritrean Orthodox Church in Europe
The Archdiocese of the Eritrean Orthodox Church in Middle East


Clergy of the Archdiocese of the Eritrean Orthodox Church

Father Kesete Berhan G. Michael (Hegumen)

Holy Trinity Eritrean Orthodox Church

Seattle, WA 98125

United Sates of America

 

Father Areaya Tesfay (Hegumen)

St. Gabriel Eritrean Orthodox Church

New York, NY 10031

United Sates of America

 

Father G. Michael Yohannes.

Medhanealem Eritrean Orthodox Church

Lithonia, GA 30039

United Sates of America

 

Father Weldetnsae Berhane

Medhanealem Eritrean Orthodox Church

Washington, D.C. 20001

United Sates of America

 

Father Dibe Gebrewoldi

St. Mary Eritrean Orthodox Church

San Leandro, CA 94577

United Sates of America

 

Father Halefom Zighta.

St. Michael Eritrean Orthodox Church

Charlotte, NC 2827

United Sates of America

 

Father Tesfom G. Abrhale

Medhanealem Eritrean Orthodox Church

Washington, D.C. 20001

United Sates of America

 

Father Asmerom Hagos

Medhanealem Eritrean Orthodox Church

Lithonia GA. 30039

United Sates of America

 

Father Athansius Ghebre-Ab

Holy Trinity Eritrean Orthodox Church

Cincinnati OH. 45237

United Sates of America

 

Father Tedros Tesfay.

Irvine, CA 92606

United Sates of America

 

Father Dawit Ghebreselassie

Rochester, NY 14621

United Sates of America

 

Father Berhane Teame Beyene

St. Mary Eritrean Orthodox T. Church

Portland, OR 97211

United Sates of America

 

Fr. Semere Sibhatu.

Holy Trinity Eritrean Orthodox Church

Edmonton, AB T5N 1M8

Canada

 

Fr Theklemariam Mirkazion

AM SCHIEFERSTEIN 8 60435

Frankfurt am Main Germany

 

Fr. Paulos AMPRINO

AM SCHIEFERSTEIN 8 60435

Frankfurt am Main Germany

 

Rev. Mussie Shishay

Eritrean orthodox Medhane Alem church

Milan, Italy  

 

Father Teklit Habtemariam

Wannenweg 10

4460 Gelterkinden 

abaaselland 
St.Merie Bâle

 

Father Hadish Habtom 
Father  Hadish Dwit 
Father Tekle Ghebreslassie

St. Mary Eritrean Orthodox Church

Genève, Switzerland

 

Father Berhane Ghebremeskel

Kidanemihret Church

Switzerland

                                                   

Father  Muluebrhan Temesghen.

St. Mary Eritrean Orthodox Church

luzern, Switzerland

 

Father Tesfay Hagos

Abune Aregawi fribourg Suisse church,  

Switzerland

              

Mergeta Tesfay Weldeghebriel 

Medhanealem Eritrean Orthodox Church

Zürich, Switzerland

         

Haleka Kflom Habtemaryam

uanerdorf strasse 21

9113 Degersheim

 

Father Weldeslassie Beynesay

 hangelenstrasse 11

 3122 kehrsatz

 

Father Yonas Tesheme

St.Mary Eritrean Orthodox Church,

Sheffield, S9 3WU, UK

 

Father Shenouda Haile

St.Mary Eritrean Orthodox Church,

London, N22 7HA, UK

 

Father Muluebrhan Rezene   
St George Eritrean Orthodox Church, Birmingham,

West Midlands, B20 2QQ, UK

 

Father Habtom Ftuwi

Medhane Alem Eritrean Orthodox Church,

Waterloo Road, Cheetham, Manchester, M8 0AZ, UK

 

Fathers of the

St Mary Eritrean Orthodox Church,

Tel Aviv, Israel

 

This letter has been sent to the following officials and agencies as well:

 

The Honorable Secretary of State John Kerry
U.S. Department of State 
2201 C Street NW 
Washington, DC 20520

 

The Honorable Sheila B. Keetharuth, 
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) 
Palais des Nations 
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

 

The Honorable Catherine Dupe Atoki, Commission Chairperson
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
31 Bijilo Annex Layout, Kombo North District
Western Region P.O. Box 673 Banjul
The Gambia

 

The Honorable Catherine Dupe Atoki, Commission Chairperson
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
Gbenga Atoki Chambers, 3rd Floor, City Plaza,

596 Ahmadu Bello Way, Area 11,

P. O. Box 12075, Garki Abuja, Nigeria

 

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