New York Ethiopian Orthodox followers Cry for One Church, One leader (Tedla Asfaw)
By Tedla Asfaw
The New York overcast sky did not deter brave New Yorkers to gather in front of Woyane’s Mission to United Nations at mid day today in Manhattan, New York. “I care for my religion”, “Woyane is the enemy of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo”, “Sibaht Nega, Abaye Tsehaye and Shiferaw Teklemariam stay away from our church business”, “One Church One Leader”, “Holy Fathers continue reconciliation before any Woyane imposed selection” were the major slogans of the day.
In fact we display our slogans at close range for Woyane cadre who was going up and down on the street to spy on the protesters. We have his picture taken at close range. We challenged him to take out his pistol to scare us. The picture of Bishop Merkorios had attracted many passers by and we gladly distribute the leaflets. The message was clear and simple. Ethiopian Orthodox is at critical juncture and the voice of the believers must be heard.
The timing of this rally before the General Assembly of the Synod next Monday is very important. The voice of the followers of our church will be Energy for those fathers who want to do their part to bring our church under one leader. The struggle of fellow Ethiopian Muslims for the last one year rejecting division by ethnicity is a lesson worth taken.
We have not seen Ethiopian Muslims divided as Woyane wanted. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo split on ethnicity can not be denied. Those who sold their soul for a high bidder care less for the division in church. In the name of “united” church they are playing a Woyane game. They ignore the injustices done to their people back home and use the church as a place for “praying” for the victims as well for the criminals.
Many are buying Sibaht Nega propaganda against the Ethiopian Muslim struggle for justice and spread “Muslim Extremism” coming to destroy Christianity in Ethiopia. This same people shut their mouth when our holy fathers ancient land is bulldozed by Abaye Tsehaye . The Martyred Bishop Petros statue for them is going to be “removed” and “put back” on its place. They tell us the government is on construction project to “improve” the life of our people. Can we call them “YeLemate Christanoche” ?
Praying in the same house with such people is sin. The majority of believers in Ethiopia expect solution to come up from the Synod soon. The Synod division engineered by Woyane for more than twenty years is over now. Thanks God !!! Those of us who came out to protest in New York today would like the church fathers to end that division once and for all. For that to happen the believers have to use their voice and purse and put pressure on the holy fathers all over Diaspora and back home.
I was one of the people who were interviewed by VOA Amharic on the current crisis of our church. People voice has been ignored for many years and that has to end. The holy fathers who are assembling this coming Monday should hear VOA on what Ethiopians are saying about their church. This is the last chance to stop division planted by Woyane’s ethnic policy with courage. We should not forget that this is the church of Martyred Bishop Petros.
If the Woyane planted ethnic division at Waldeba Monastery is to be replicated at the General Assembly of the Synod our church will be weakened maybe forever.That is unfortunately the goal of Woyane destroying one of the great symbols of Ethiopian identity, Orthodox Tewahedo Church. If the peaceful way of resolving this crisis is sabotaged we will be going on a dangerous path.
Fellow New Yorkers who care deeply for their church and country spoke their mind today. It is uplifting to see mothers interviewed carrying the picture of Bishop Merkorios on ESAT Radio, uplifting to hear the recorded song of Aba Samuel ZeWaldiba. There were no deacons and priests with us today to sing. The blessing we received from Bishop Baslios of our region is very encouraging. We have no doubt that many back home is supporting our cause and should do the same wherever they are, “Enem YeHaymantoe Gudaye Yagebagnale”, “I do care for my religion” a rallying cry of Dejeselam Website which we echoed on Manhattan Street proudly.