The Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has issued a profound apology to the people of Tigray for their complicity in the tragic war that ravaged the region.
The Synod’s statement, released on Thursday, expressed heartfelt regret for the failure to ensure the safety of church leaders and followers during the conflict. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has faced criticism for its perceived silence and lack of condemnation regarding the war, which led to the loss of countless lives. Earlier this year, Tigray bishops even declared their intention to establish an independent church outside the jurisdiction of the Synod.
Since the conclusion of the devastating war in late 2022, the Holy Synod has been actively engaged in pursuing reconciliation with Orthodox leaders in Tigray. In this effort, they have taken a significant step forward by offering an official apology for the delayed delivery of humanitarian assistance following the war’s end.
While this gesture is seen by some as a positive beginning towards healing and unity, a bishop from Tigray criticized the apology, arguing that it falls short of fully acknowledging the magnitude of the injustices inflicted upon the region and its people.
In addition to extending their apology, the church has reaffirmed its unwavering recognition of His Holiness Abune Matthias as the patriarch. Furthermore, the church categorically denied any plans to appoint another patriarch, firmly establishing their commitment to upholding the current leadership structure.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s apology signifies a significant step in acknowledging the pain and suffering endured by the people of Tigray. It is hoped that this act of contrition will pave the way for genuine reconciliation and a renewed commitment to justice, unity, and healing within the church and across the entire nation.