A Short Narrative By Yilma Begashaw
From the 9th to the 13th of February 2015 there was a full 4 day Court Hearing on the long outstanding dispute between the two groups. The Appellant/Applicant is the group that alleges Abba Girma’s group for denying them an access to the Church Services over where they have been receiving Mass Services for the last two years standing in front of the Church in the cold and rain. Their Court request is for their genuine rights to be respected and allowed an access to the full Church Services in turn (rotations) until the main outstanding administrative question is resolved in Court.
In defence, the presentation of Abba Girma’s group to the Court included the following points:
. The Appellant doesn’t follow the Addis Ababa Synod
. The Priest on the side of the Appellants cannot continue to provide Mass Services
. The reason why the Appellants did not recognise Abba Paulos as a patriarch was because he is from Tigray
. If the Appellants want Church Services they have to recognise the Addis Ababa Synod and receive Church Services only from the Defendants leader, Abba Girma, etc.
The Judge listened to both sides over 4 whole days and made a ruling in favour of the Appellants. It was heart touching when it was mentioned that any congregation cannot be denied of an access to Church Services as the Church is the House of God.
However, the ‘Solicitor’ of the defendants couldn’t clinch from his position and mentioned his intention to appeal.
In the process it has been very sad to observe a number of issues as highlighted below:
. The Appellants re-iterated the fact that there is no legal Parish Administrative Council, mentioning that those who were elected in 2006 have over-stayed in Office (the legal term of a Parish Administrative Council is 3 years that can be extended only by one more term); a number of those elected in 2006 have retired long time ago, leaving the Defendant side without a quorum; those that have been selected to join did not follow legal election process and one of them (a Deacon) even joined them without being elected.
. The futile effort of the Defendants to claim that His Holiness Abune Merkorios was removed from his Patriarchate legally. “አቤቱ አድነኝ ደግ ሰው አልቆአልና፤ እርስ በርሳቸው ከንቱ ነገርን ይናገራሉ፤ በሽንገላ ከንፈር ሁለት ልብ ሆነው ይናገራሉ። የሽንገላን ከንፈሮች ሁሉ እግዚአብሔር ያጠፋቸዋል።” (መዝ. ዳዊት፤ 11፤1-3)።
. How any Christian could possible waste 4 days standing in Court in support of the Defendants who try to deny access to fellow Christians many of whom have been serving that Church over the past 30-40 years.
. The efforts of the defendant’s ‘Solicitor’ to play a race card that doesn’t apply to the Appellants. “በወንድምህ ዓይን ያለዉን ጉድፍ ስለምን ታያለህ፤ በራስህ ዓይን ግን ያለዉን ምሰሶ ስለምን አትመለከትም? … አንተ ግብዝ፤ አስቀድመህ ከዓይንህ ምሶሶዉን አዉጣ፤ ከዚያ በኋል በወንድምህ ዓይን ያለዉን ጉድፍ ታወጣ ዘንድ አጥርተህ ታያለህ” (ሉቃ፤ 6፤ 39-42)
. When the Defendants’ ‘Solicitor’ mentioned that the Church became a victim, the response given was a fact, indeed: yes the Church became a victim of political intervention.
It is very sad indeed that Ethiopian refugees are facing such difficulties even on exile to bring up their children in their own Church, receive Church services and lead a more peaceful Christian life.
May Our Almighty God protect our Church, our Beloved Country and the Unity of Her people!