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Minutes, Decision of the Holy Synod on HH Patriarch Antonios

Date:  July 18, 2005 
Place: The Office of the Holy Synod
Time: 10:00AM

Minutes
Decision of the Holy Synod

This concerns the case of His Holiness Antonios I, the 3rd Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church.

1. It is understood that the heretic teachings that were being taught by the young people of Mekane Hiwet  Medahane Alem [Savior of the World] Church [in Asmara], was proven by the proceedings of the examination of the Council of Scholars of the [Eritrean] Orthodox Tewahdo Church in 2001. 

Based on the above, the Holy Synod, on the basis of prior directives and injunctions, had passed its decisions on the young students of the Sunday School at the Mekane Hiwet Medhane Alem Church. You, however, repeatedly protested against this decision, and - without the knowledge of the Holy Synod and using its official seal - sent letters to various bodies of the PFDJ [the Peoples’ Front for Democracy and Justice – the sole ruling political party in Eritrea] as well as other regional bodies. This, besides being an act beneath your office and excommunicable, also shows your contempt toward the Holy Synod. 

2. Although the Holy Synod is the highest authority of the Church in all matters of doctrine and faith, without the permission of the Holy Synod, against its bylaws and using the seal of the Holy Synod, you committed an excommunicable act by appointing people to advise you on matters of doctrine.

3. In the case of the amendments of the bylaws of the Church, the Holy Synod, based on its legal authority, had enacted and made it the basis for its work. However, contrary to the bylaws and guidelines, against all practices of previous patriarchs and in manners unknown previously in the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church, you attempted to overturn and render null and void a decision of the Holy Synod by issuing an excommunication on 03/02/2005.*

4. In the case of the Debre-Bethel Housing, the temporary Holy Synod had passed a decision, a decision which the present Holy Synod had confirmed. Nonetheless, expressing as your personal opinion, without the approval of the Holy Synod and using its seal, you sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice. This letter supports the interest of one of the concerned parties. 

5. At the time when people of high authority in the government of Eritrea spoke to you at the patriarchate, you put a request in the name of the church for the release of people whom the Holy Synod had deemed heretics and were accused of other crimes as well. This also shows that you stood against the Holy Synod.

6. In the past four or five meetings, you have shown a habit of signing on [decisions] only to change your mind later on. Consistent with this, you agreed to have Abba Sinoda transferred to the diocese of the United States and Canada only to try to overturn the decision later.

Therefore, having proven that you have chosen the counsel of outside individuals instead of the Holy Synod’s, and confirming that you have become and continue to be a hindrance in the work of the holy church, effective July 18, 2005 (Ge’ez Calendar, July 11, 1997), except for offering prayers and benedictions, the Holy Synod announces its decision to remove you from all and any administrative responsibilities of the church.

1. HG Abune Qerlos, bishop of the south, Adi Qeyeh     _______

2. HG Abune Dioscoros, bishop of Mendefera,   signature

3. HG Abune Selama, bishop of the monasteries Eritrea,   signature  

4. HG Abune Yohanned, bishop of Anseba Keren      ________

5. HG Abune Markos,  bishop of the Northern,  Red Sea Dioceses  signature

6. HG Abune Matewos, bishop of Debarwa Diocese    signature

7. HG Abune Lukas, bishop of Gash Barka Diocese   signature

8. HG Abune Petros, bishop of the Sorthern Red Sea Diocese signature

 

*This refers to the excommunication that Abune Antonios placed on Mr. Yoftahe Dimetros.

**Note: Two bishops refused to affix their signature to this document.

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