Church of Eritrea

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Alexandria: Britain | Antioch: Jacobite Indian

The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church is one of the Oriental Orthodox churches. It was formerly a part of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, its autocephaly being reluctantly recognized by the Ethiopian Patriarchate after Eritrea gained its independence in the 1993. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church had been granted autocephaly by the Coptic Pope in 1950, but had no say in the autocephaly of its integral Eritrean diocese due to the appeal of the Eritrean government to the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate for Eritrean Orthodox autocephaly. Tensions were - and in some cases remain - high between the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church on the one side and the Coptic Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Churches on the other. Nonetheless, the three Churches remain in full communion with one another and with the other Churches of the Oriental Orthodox communion.

HG Bishop Marcos is Bishop of Eritrea for Eritreans in England, and HG Bishop Makarius is Bishop of Eritrea for Eritreans in the USA. Both bishops are members of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. (Bishop names correct as of August 2005.)

Recently in 2005, the Patriarch of Orthodox Tewahdo Church of Eritrea, H.H. Abune Antonios, has been forced out of his post (but this has been challenged by the Diocese of North America of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church [1]). Earlier, when Abune Antonios protested at government interference in Church affairs, his Christmas radio message was cancelled [2]. Abune Antonios was elected on 5 March 2004 and enthroned as the third Patriarch of Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Eritrea, on 25 April 2004. It is to be remembered Pope Shenouda III presided at the consecration and enthronement in Asmara, together with the Holy Synod of the Eritrean Orthodox Church and a Coptic Orthodox Delegation that accompanied him.

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