Puppet Patriarch for Eritrean Orthodox Church

A bland announcement from state media in Eritrea:

His Holiness Abune Dioskoros has been elected 4th Patriarch of Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church that was unanimously approved by the Holy Synod.

The EOC happily announces to the people that the appointment of His Holiness Abune Dioskoros took place on 19 April, during a meeting of Eritreans monasteries, representatives of religious administrations and the like.

Eritrean dissident website Asmarino has a rather more emotive description of what happened:

Yesterday, April 19, 2007, in a convocation attended by government authorities, Mr. Yoftahe Dimetros, the lay political appointee who serves as the highest administrator of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, and his handler, Security Chief Semere Beyen, rounded up the reluctant bishops that make up the rump synod and made the much anticipated announcement.

The announcement that was presented to the assemblage as an accomplished fact simply stated, “Abba Dioscoros, the former bishop of the Mendefera region, has been chosen to serve as Eritrea’s next patriarch.[“] When the bishops in attendance expressed a desire to bring the matter to a deliberation, they were told that the announcement was not open for further discussion.

…Mr. Dimetros and Co. took this shameful step, as always, on the behest of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), the ruling party, to implement its designs of destroying the Eritrean Orthodox Church…It should be known to everyone that Abba Dioscoros has long sold his soul to Mr. Yoftahe, the devil incarnate. In the last two years, he has been at Mr. Yoftahe, the patriarch-maker’s feet in the foolish hope of being the next patriarch.

Dimetros, who was previously a diplomat when Eritrea was part of Ethiopia, has been in charge since 2005, when the 3rd Patriarch, Abune Antonios, was “frozen” and later placed under arrest. The World Evangelical Alliance reported on this at the time:

Mr. Yoftahe Dimetros has been appointed by the government to administer the EOC. On August 7, Dimetros and several military officials met with the EOC Synod and deposed EOC Patriarch Abune Antonios. Patriarch Antonios had defended the rights of the Medhane Alem renewal movement of the EOC, viewing them as a blessing and refusing to persecute them. He has also pleaded before the government on behalf of the Rev. Dr. Futsum Kuluberhan, the Rev. Dr. Tekleab Mengisteab, and the Rev. Gebremedhin Georgis. These three Medhane Alem pastors were arrested in March and remain jailed incommunicado as “traitors” in Asmara’s notorious Wongel Mermera investigation center. Dimetros leveled numerous complaints against Patriarch Antonios whom he accused of being “an obstacle in the work of the Holy Christian Church.”

In direct violation of the constitution of the EOC, the government will now appoint a compliant replacement Patriarch.

Dimetros acquired the necessary items for Dioskoros’s consecration back in January:

On Saturday morning, January 20, 2007, Mr. Yoftahe Dimetros sent two priests accompanied by three security agents of the government to the residence of H.H. Antonios, Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church.  Once there, they confiscated the following list of material from him:

1. All his Patriarchal vestments
2. The chain of the Apostle St. Mark
3. The Patriarchal holy scepter of Moses and of the shepherd
4. The Holy Myron that was handed down to the Eritrean Church from St. Mark.
5. Another patriarchal chain of St. Mark
6. Many other holy personal effects

The two priests that were sent by Mr. Yoftahe Dimetros to undertake such shameless act were Keshi Fitsum Tesfai[Priest at St George, Alfaramio, Asmara] and Keshi Gebretatyos Kidane [Priest at St Atnatios, Godaif Asmara].

Trawling around the internet, it appears that Dimetros is the son of Keshi Dimetros, a fanatical pro-Ethiopian politician from the 1960s, and some discussions suggest he may also be descended from Dimetros Gebremariam, an Eritrean churchman who was also a pro-Ethiopia “Unionist”. Both of these men used religion for political ends, but I can’t see any ideological connection between their activities and Yoftahe Dimetros’s scheming on behalf of the current Eritrean government.

2 Responses

  1. why the governemt choos our patrirc

  2. U are an unconscionable idiot. You do not know my grandfather or my uncle. They are amazing patriots. You have no idea of who they are, you are just a hateful prick passing for a journalist. Do your research, then check and double check the facts!

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