Easter in Ethiopia: Cardinal Emphasizes Need for Lasting Peace, Says “only way out of our problems”

Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel of Addis Ababa Archdiocese. Credit: Habtamu Abrdew Beture

The challenges the people of God in Ethiopia grapple with can only be resolved through lasting peace in the Horn of Africa nation, the Catholic Archbishop of Addis Ababa has said.

In a report emailed to ACI Africa, Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel is quoted as saying, “Behold, the King of the world has risen, let us welcome him, honor and praise him as an instrument of peace for our country and our people in the light of his Resurrection.”

“Peace is the only way out of the problems for the people of Ethiopia,” Cardinal Souraphiel is quoted as emphasizing in his 2024 Easter Message that Habtamu Abrdew Beture shared with ACI Africa on May 1 ahead of the Sunday, May 5 celebration in the Horn of Africa nation.

Mr. Abrdew further quotes the Ethiopian member of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians/CM) as saying, “Our Lord Jesus Christ grants the apostles a peace saying, ‘Peace be with you’. This shows that the cross is a source of peace.”

“The peace of the cross includes all the values, the dignity of life, love, generosity, justice and mercy,” the Local Ordinary of Addis Ababa who doubles as the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) says.


Earlier, in an April 9 statement that ACI Africa obtained on April 24, Cardinal Souraphiel expressed concern that that Ethiopians are facing multiple crises with far-reaching impacts.

He warned, “The time is now! We should not wait until the context worsens before sounding an alarm that we are on the verge of something potentially disastrous, as we may only be one or two failed rains away from a truly dire situation”. 

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “At least 21 million Ethiopians shoulder the weight of multi-faceted, often overlapping, humanitarian situations driven by man-made and natural hazards, including conflict, climatic shocks (drought and floods), and disease outbreaks.”

Ethiopia has “been affected by recurring droughts, increasing in both duration and frequency. Caused by five consecutive failed rainy seasons, the prolonged (late-2020-2023) drought in the eastern and southern parts of the country was considered the most severe the country has seen in 40 years,” according to OCHA.

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has reported that one in six of Ethiopia's 120 million girls, boys, women and men need life-preserving assistance as a result of conflict, drought, flooding, and disease outbreaks.

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In his April 9 statement, Cardinal Souraphiel called on “all parties to recommit now, redouble our efforts and commit ourselves to fully funding Ethiopia's Humanitarian Response Plan before things get worse, potentially much worse.”

“With support from many partners around the world and having a long track record in successfully addressing food security issues, we are doing our utmost to provide as much as we can with the resources available and many donors and organizations on the ground are delivering life- preserving aid as well. But it is simply not enough,” he said.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.