Abune Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, passes away (Aug 21, 2012)
His Holiness, Abune Paulos, Fifth Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church, Ichege of the See of St. Tekle Haymanot, Archbishop of Axum and one of the seven serving Presidents of the World Council of Churches passed away today (August 16) due to an illness for which His Holiness had been receiving treatment for over the past week here in Addis Ababa. Abune Paulos was born in 1935 in Adwa woreda of Tigray region, and entered the Abba Garima Monastery as a young boy to train as a deacon, eventually taking monastic orders and being ordained a priest. He obtained his first degree in theology at the Trinity College in Addis Ababa, and subsequently studied for a second degree and his doctorate at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States, and the Princeton Theological Seminary. He returned to Ethiopia after the revolution in 1974, and was appointed a bishop before being arrested and spending several years in prison. Released in 1983 he went into exile where he was raised to the rank of Archbishop in 1986. After returning to Ethiopia again after 1991, he was enthroned as the Fifth Patriarch of the Ethiopian Tewahdo Orthodox Church in 1993. Abune Paulos was a renowned scholar and peace advocate who worked on reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea. He made the Church one of the major relief organizations in the country and showed keen interest in youth, women's issues and the problem of HIV/AIDS. He was the patron of the national program on HIV/AIDs. Abune Paulos received the Nansen Medal from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for his work for peace and humanitarian causes in 2000. Abune Paulos was a member of the central committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Faith and Order commission, and was elected as one of the seven Presidents of the World Council of Churches (Oriental Orthodox) in 2007. The Office of the Patriarch has indicated that the Holy Synod will hold an emergency session to decide on the date and place of the funeral ceremony. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of His Holiness and to the faithful of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church.