Patriarch Abune Paulos I
Church leaders have been paying tribute to Abune Paulos I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church who died suddenly on 17 August.
The Most Reverend Abune Berhaneyesus D Souraphiel CM, Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa, and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ethiopia, sent following summary of his tribute to Patriarch Paulos which he wrote in Amharic:
“It is with great sorrow that I heard the sudden death of Abune Paulos I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. I was shocked by his sudden death because he was a good friend whom I consulted on many issues and with whom I worked together on common matters.
“Besides being the Spiritual Father for our Orthodox brothers and sisters, he has been loved and accepted also as a great religious Father of the whole of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.
“He was a man of peace and dialogue and as such he will be missed very much by all who worked with him.
“He was especially a good friend of the Catholic Church. He personally knew the late Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. He enhanced the ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church.”
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa concluded: “May God console his spiritual Orthodox sons and daughters as well as his family.”
Writing on behalf of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, Monsignor Marcus Stock, General Secretary, wrote:
“On behalf of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Archbishop Bernard Longley, Chairman of the Department for Dialogue and Unity, I wish to convey to the members of the Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches in England and Wales, the most sincere condolences of all the members of the Bishops’ Conference on the death of His Holiness Patriarch Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
“His Holiness is remembered with affection as a man of great learning and culture. He ministered in a most fruitful way to the needs of his own people in working for peace and reconciliation in his own country. He was a true bridge builder in a time of political and civil unrest. His Holiness also had a strong commitment to building up the spiritual bond of friendship and communion with the Catholic Church and other Christian communities mainly in his role as a president of the World Council of Churches.
“We remember with respect and gratitude the great works of charity undertaken by His Holiness making the Ethiopian Orthodox Church the foremost instrument of goodwill in his country. He will be remembered especially for his work for refugees, women and young people and for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.”
The message concludes: “We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will welcome into his kingdom of eternal peace and perpetual light this faithful shepherd of his flock, and grant consolation and comfort to those who mourn his passing.”