Church in Ethiopia Has Fulfilled Pope’s Request, Prayed for Persecuted Orthodox Christians

Bishop Markos Ghebremedhin, Vicar Apostolic of Jimma-Bonga, Ethiopia

Weeks after Pope Francis requested prayers for persecuted Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia who were targeted in ethnic clashes in the Oromia region, leaving dozens of people dead, the Catholic Church in country has fulfilled this request and organized for prayers.

“I express my closeness to this beloved church and her patriarch, dear brother Abune Mathias, and I ask you to pray for all the victims of violence in that land,” Pope Francis was quoted as saying November 3, addressing himself to the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

In an interview with ACI Africa, the Vicar Apostolic of Ethiopia’s Jimma-Bonga, Bishop Markos Ghebremedhin confirmed that the Catholic Church had heeded to the Holy Father’s request for prayers saying, “After the Pope’s request, we organized a specific day of prayers and all dioceses prayed for peace not only for the Orthodox Christians but for the entire country of Ethiopia.”

“Cardinal Berhaneyesus who was recently appointed the chairperson of peace and reconciliation in the country communicated officially the day of prayer,” Bishop Ghebremedhin recalled and clarified, “even though most Churches that were destroyed were for the Orthodox Christians, the prayers for peace were held for the entire country.”

“He sent a public message of condolences to those who had been killed in this event and condemned on behalf of the Church such acts warning the young people from being emotional and to have mature way of dealing with issues,” The Ethiopian Prelate further said in reference to the Catholic Church initiative to calm the violence in his country spearheaded by Cardinal Berhaneyesus,


According to a report, the persecution of Christians in Ethiopia that started in October resulting in deaths of dozens of people and the arrest of hundreds was triggered by an activist Jawar Mohammed

Confirming this report, Bishop Ghebremedhin said, “These clashes were brought about when a known activist Jawar Mohamed whom citizens felt was the voice of the people in the region informed his followers that he was in danger when he was threatened by security men he found in his compound.”

“Young people began blocking roads when they heard about this, and later it brought about division between Muslims and Christians.” Bishop Ghebremedhin whose Apostolic jurisdiction is in Southwest Ethiopia added.

The Bishop recalled the possible reason for the involvement of the youth in support of activist Jawar Mohamed saying, “Young people were expecting that as a freedom fighter he would bring some better promises like job opportunities and better lives.”

Attacks targeting Churches in Ethiopia has been a common practice in recent times with a report indicating that religion is becoming a basis of political disagreement in the Horn of Africa.

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“Persecution in Ethiopia happens to any one not only the Orthodox Christians,” Bishop Ghebremedhin noted in his interview with ACI Africa and appealed, “Everyone should pray, faith-based organizations should preach peace and in one voice the Churches should preach peace for conversion and change of heart.”