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Church of Ethiopia

281 bytes added, 03:06, July 23, 2007
Recent history: - 7/13 reconciliation
The Coptic and Ethiopian Churches reached an agreement on [[July 13]], 1948, that led to [[autocephaly]] for the Ethiopian Church. Five [[bishop]]s were immediately consecrated by the [[Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria]], empowered to elect a new Patriarch for their church, and the successor to Abuna Qerellos IV would have the power to consecrate new bishops. This promotion was completed when Coptic Pope Yosab of Alexandria consecrated an Ethiopian-born Archbishop, Abuna Baslios, on [[January 14]], 1951. Then in 1959, Pope [[Cyril VI of Alexandria]] crowned Abuna Baslios as the first Patriarch of Ethiopia.
Patriarch Abune Baslios died in 1971, and was succeeded that year by Patriarch Abune Tewophilos. With the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church was disestablished as the state church. The new Marxist government began nationalizing property (including land) owned by the church. Patriarch Abune Tewophilos was arrested in 1976 by the Marxist Derg military junta, and secretly executed later that year. The government ordered the church to elect a new Patriarch, and [[Abune Takla Haymanot]] was enthroned. The [[Coptic Church]] refused to recognize the election and enthronement of Abune Tekle Haimanot on the grounds that the [[Synod]] of the Ethiopian Church had not removed Abune Tewophilos and that the government had not publicly acknowledged his death, and he was thus still legitimate Patriarch of Ethiopia. Formal relations between the two churches were stopped, although they remained in communion with each other. Formal relations between the two churches resumed on July 13, 2007<ref>[http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/English/visitseng.htm#11 "Common Declaration" of Pope Shenoudah III, Catholicos Aram I, and Patriarch Paulos - News and Media of the Armenian Orthodox Church, 22 July 2007]</ref>
Patriarch Abune Tekle Haymanot proved to be much less accommodating to the Derg regime than it had expected, and so when the Patriarch died in 1988, a new Patriarch with closer ties to the regime was sought. The Archbishop of Gondar, a member of the Derg-era Ethiopian Parliament, was elected and enthroned as Patriarch Abune Merkorios. Following the fall of the Derg regime in 1991, and the coming to power of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) government, Patriarch Abune Merkorios abdicated under public and governmental pressure. The church then elected a new Patriarch, Abune Paulos. The former Patriarch Abune Merkorios then fled abroad, and announced from exile that his abdication had been made under duress and thus he was still the legitimate Patriarch of Ethiopia. Several bishops also went into exile and formed a break-away alternate synod. This exiled synod is recognized by some Ethiopian Churches in North America and Europe who recognize Patriarch Abune Merkorios, while the synod inside Ethiopia continues to uphold the legitimacy of Patriarch Abune Paulos.

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