Cardinal Urges Ethiopians to Respect Human Life, Holy Places in Christmas Message

Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel. Credit: Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat/Facebook

The Catholic Archbishop of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia has urged the people of God in the country to respect human life and holy places so as to “properly” celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

In his Christmas message, which Ethiopians celebrated on Thursday, January 7,  Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel said, “To properly celebrate the birth of Christ, let us give respect to the life of mankind, to the church of God and his holy places.”

“Let us get out of the spirit of selfishness, let death stop in our country, let peace spread,” Cardinal Souraphiel told the people of God in the country that is experiencing conflicts in the northern region.

Ethiopia’s Amhara region, which is the country's second-largest region, has been experiencing protracted violence. The last two-year conflict was cooled down through a peace agreement in November 2022.

However, another cycle of clashes broke out in the same northern region in August last year. The crisis between the military and local militia which became Ethiopia's most serious security crisis compelled Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to declare a six-month state of emergency.


A report that was released December last year indicated that “Some 56,000 people have been displaced from Ethiopia to Sudan during the ongoing conflict between federal government troops and the Tigray.”

In his Christmas message, Cardinal Souraphiel urged Ethiopians to remember the victims of the conflicts by tending to the hungry, the thirsty, those abused, the sick, and those who have been displaced by the conflicts.

“Let us be with them, help them, comfort them. Let us not only say what we should do for us but also what we can do for others; let us be a shelter for those who have no shelter,” said the Ethiopian Cardinal.

The Local Ordinary of Addis Ababa who doubles as the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) cautioned the people of God in the country against ignoring the people that the society has discriminated against including strangers.

“Let's consider ourselves as their (those discriminated against) family, as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ signifies that Christ is a relative to all of us,”  he said, and added, “No one should be a stranger in the mystery of birth.”

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During the Christmas holiday, the Cardinal encouraged Ethiopians to contemplate their interactions with strangers.

“May God give mercy to the sick, comfort and release to the prisoners, peace, and love to all those who are in stress and suffering,” said the Local Ordinary of Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa Archdiocese.

He implored further, “Let us all pray for the king of peace, our Lord Jesus Christ, to bring peace to our country. May he give us a heart that seeks repentance and reconciliation.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.