Ethiopian Orthodox faithful celebrate the Easter Vigil in Wukro Ethiopian Orthodox faithful celebrate the Easter Vigil in Wukro 

Ethiopian Bishop: Prayer and justice can heal our social divisions

An Ethiopian Bishop urges religious leaders to act as mediators to heal the African nation’s political and social divisions.

By Devin Watkins

“Religious institutions and the government have the responsibility to lead young people on the right path of development and not into war.”

Bishop Teshome Fikre Woldetensae, Coadjutor Bishop of the Eparchy of Emdeber, offered that reminder in a recent interview on an Ethiopian TV station.

The Bishop, who serves as the Secretary General of the Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia, spoke about the political and social crisis that has lashed the country for the last few years.

“We were once considered a people of faith and humility, but today this is being challenged by the daily and ongoing conflicts and wars that continue to result in a state of general insecurity and extreme poverty,” he said. “Blood is flowing everywhere.”

Humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia

Ethiopia frequently faces overlapping crises as a result of ethnic conflicts, natural disasters, and heath epidemics.

A two-year war in the northern regions, which ended in November 2022, reportedly left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions displaced.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, around 9 million people across the Tigray, Afar, and Amhara regions need food aid and 3.1 million are internally displaced.

Role of religious leaders in fostering peace

Bishop Fikre said religious leaders are called to set aside ethnic tensions and help heal the country by promoting reconciliation and peace.

“By remaining neutral, free from ethnic sectarianism and political influence,” he said, “religious leaders can play an important role as mediators and in building a culture of peace and reconciliation.”

Young people, he added, face unemployment and look to religious and government institutions to lead them on the path of development instead of war.

“We are entrusted with the task of showing them the path of truth, love and justice,” said Bishop Fikre. “We must stop sending them to fight and protect them from human traffickers, help them follow the right path and let them live happily in their own country.”

The Secretary General of the Ethiopian Bishops’ Conference reminded his brother bishops that God has entrusted the flock to them to lead them to life.

“Our social and spiritual fractures,” concluded Bishop Fikre, “heal through prayers, good will, good deeds, love and justice.”

(Source: Fides News Agency)

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09 May 2024, 14:36