Cardinal Urges Ethiopians to Work towards "lasting peace" in November Agreement

Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel of Addis Ababa Archdiocese in Ethiopia. Credit: CBCE

The Catholic Archbishop of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia has lauded the peace negotiations in the country's embattled Tigray region and prayed for grace for the people of God in the Horn of Africa country to continue to work towards “lasting peace”.

In his message on Christmas Day, which Ethiopians celebrated on Saturday, January 7,  Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel expressed the need for the people of God in Ethiopia to establish “positive relations” and peace, after experiencing a tough humanitarian crisis owing to the violence in Tigray.

“Dear people of our country, we congratulate God for hearing our prayers on time and completing the peace negotiations in the spirit of understanding and the peace of the people,” Cardinal Souraphiel said in reference to the November 2 peace agreement in Pretoria, South Africa, in which the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front  (TPLF) pledged to “permanently silence the guns and end the two years of conflict in northern Ethiopia”. 

He added, “We should work together to establish lasting peace and positive relations for all our people and people around the conflict. For this reason, may God give us more grace.”

In his Christmas message, the Ethiopian Cardinal described the day of the birth of Jesus Christ as a holiday in which the Church celebrates the full revelation of love to mankind and all creatures.


“Love has become flesh, it is a holiday of humility, love, peace, and reconciliation. It is a holiday in which we express our joy and sorrow as the son of God shares our joy and sorrow. Our Lord Jesus Christ cried like a child, the cold, the starved, the migrated, to clothe the son of man. The cold, starved to feed mankind, migrated to rest mankind,” he said.

The Local Ordinary of Addis Ababa who doubles as the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) noted that the true meaning of Christmas is “when a person is free from selfishness.”

“Christmas shines when we seek the happiness of others. Christmas should invite us to stop and examine ourselves and our communities,” he said, adding that the special day is also an opportunity for Christians to think about the people in need.

“We need to think about them (the needy) wherever we live. As God has shown us patience, we should live and wear it. If we share what we have, we will celebrate Christmas well,” he said.

He called on the people of God in Ethiopia to pray, especially for those languishing in other countries where they have gone to seek greener pastures.

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“Many of our people who say remember us in prayer especially those who are struggling in many places on their trip to South Africa, those who are imprisoned in foreign countries, those who are worried about losing hope, those who die and are buried in secret everywhere, and also those who are imprisoned and suffering in some Arab countries, we should support them,” he said.

“What do people around us need? What did they lack? How can their wounds be healed?” Cardinal Souraphiel posed, and added, “We should always remember those who are alone, neglected…and weak. Everyone can achieve great results when they contribute what they can.”

He expressed optimism that the Christmas season in Ethiopia would be a season to comfort the sick, the sad, the displaced, and the imprisoned. 

“May Christmas be a holiday of peace, love, reconciliation, and hope! May God give us understanding and wisdom. May God bless our country Ethiopia!” the Ethiopian Cardinal said in his Christmas Day Message, marked on January 7 in the Horn of Africa country.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.