Statement from Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Holy Synod

November 4,  2015
By Kassa Nigus  
 In the Name of the Father, of the Son, and 0f the Holy Spirit, One True God, Amen!

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church makes its regular Holy Synod meeting twice in a year in accordance with the Church’s book of Fitha Negest, Article 5, and Sub-article 164. Accordingly, it has run its first meeting starting on October 22 to November, 2015 for twelve days. The Holy Synod opened the session with prayer to discuss on the following agenda:

  • Preservation and enforcement of the church’s faith and canon;
  • keeping and controlling church canon ;
  • Coordinating priests in their spiritual mission;
  • Teaching believers to persist in their faith and deeds and,
  • Deciding an order  for the praise of God and church services .

The Holy Synod pledged to implement the declarations the council had passed before it wrapped up with the blessing and fatherly orders of His Holiness Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. 

    The main declarations drawn from the statements include:

  • The Holy Synod has assessed every church aspects, both spiritual and  social services, and it realized that due to the lack of rain in our country this year, drought and shortage of food have occurred in different parts of our country; thus, since it is natural that we need to carry the suffering of fellow citizens in accordance with the instructions of our religion and social values, in addition to teaching the public to share what they have, this Holy Church, which is the Mother of the people, needs to do everything in its capacity to help those in need, and that this conference of the Holy Synod deliberates on the issue. The Holy Synod appreciates what the government has worked on the disaster and deliberates to work being in the side of the government and other concerned charity organizations by establishing a committee led by one archbishop. 
  • The Holy Synod has done meticulous discussion on the identification of the root causes of maladministration that affects the country and mankind as a whole. Accordingly, the Holy Synod has established a committee with nine members embracing archbishops to work on the general problems of the church, especially on corruption and maladministration.    
  • It is known that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has valuable contribution to the country for centuries in teaching about peace, development, patriotism, and tolerance in all what she can. Now also it has completed the prerequisite criteria to launch modern media system (a 24hr TV channel) at a cost of 12 million birr for one fiscal year budget after studying the area by experts. The satellite TV will cover North East Africa, Western Europe and North America. 
  • Establishing charitable organizations and sustainable development schemes in a diocese that has no charitable organizations to help orphans and helpless elderly people was another topic of discussion in the meeting. 
  • It has been known that the Ethiopian Church is the pioneer in teaching- learning process of the country before modern education system started. Beyond many traditional church schools across the country, currently it has three spiritual colleges (Holy Trinity College, St. Paul Sewaswe Birhan Theological and Abba Selama Kesate Birhan [Revealer of Light] College), which have been producing many disciples serving the country in general and the church in particular . In view of that the Holy Synod has assigned three archbishops to assess the internal structure of the colleges and to increase the quality of education given there.
  • The Holy Synod has also decided to make accountable those who transmit evangelical services through different media and publish magazines, newspapers, songs, different pamphlets without the approval of the church under the country’s law. 
  • To commence an assessment up on the usage of church instruments (vestments, crosses, drums, sistra, prayer stcks, etc.) which  are the blessed property of the  ancient, apostolic and orthodox church has been found mandatory because some other religious institutions have been using them corrupting the church’s innate ownership.
  • It is decided that children and family affairs organization established under the Ethiopian Church shall reinforce its aid to the orphans taking into consideration the current occurrence of drought and shortage of food in different parts of the country.
  • The Holy Synod has discussed on the strengthening of the newly opened theological colleges in Jimma and Bahir Dar towns to run their learning teaching process effectively in harmony with the benefits of the society;
  • The Holy Synod ratified the 2008 Ethiopian fiscal year strategic plan and budget that enables the Church to accomplish its duties in a better way than ever;  
  • Ethiopia has endowed with the blessed young generation that understood the value of work and fearing of God as the beginning of wisdom that is witnessed in the social and spiritual services they contributed. Accordingly, the church has passed its message to the youth to improve their thinking capacity and innovation abilities;
  • To reinforce the evangelic mission through the improvement of the spiritual knowledge of the preachers, the Holy Synod discussed and passed special emphasis for its implementation; 
  • It is obvious that, today, there is a great effort to improve the living standards of the society and to bring all round development for the benefits of the mass  by government and society; in the same way,  the Holy synod discussed  in awakening the society for the accomplishment of the Renaissance Dam  and preservation of natural resources; 
  • In response to the request of Ethiopian believers abroad, the Holy Synod decided to establish churches in Japan and Korea and to send preachers to widen the social and spiritual mission of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church;
  • Members of the Holy Synod also passed a decision to build on the efforts to bring about reconciliation with their fellow bishops who set up another Synod abroad, and they confirmed that continuous discussion for unity is in the best interests of the church and the country at large; and 
  • Finally, following the opening of the session by the speech of His Holiness the Patriarch, the Synod endorsed the declaration of the 34th general parish holy council to be the direction for the activities to be carried out in the 2008 Ethiopian fiscal year.