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Killings of Ethiopian Christians

WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit's letter to Abune Mathias, patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church on the killing of Ethiopian Christians by the Islamic State.

21 April 2015

Letter of solidarity to Abuna Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church:

Your Holiness,

Christ is risen!

The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is much more than a message of consolation in times of turmoil and profound sadness; it is an existential reality brought to us by our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ who had the ultimate victory in overcoming death.

It has not been a week since I was with Your Holiness in the premises of the Patriarchate of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss the South Sudan Peace Process. So many tragic events directly affecting the Ethiopian community abroad have happened since.

From violent xenophobic attacks on migrant workers in South Africa, to the ordeals faced by hundreds of migrants who perished in the Mediterranean sea last week, and now the killing of more than 20 of your faithful children by Da’esh (IS) in Libya for refusing to renounce their faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, your church is mourning the lives of her children. I speak on behalf of the ecumenical family when I say that we are shocked and appalled by the heinous and inhuman violence inflicted on these innocent faithful Ethiopians and that we strongly denounce and condemn any ideology that condones and celebrates murder and torture.

It is in such troubled and challenging times that the gospel imperative of solidarity and ecumenical togetherness with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is more relevant than ever.

Your Holiness, please rest assured that we stand in solidarity with your Church during this painful period when you are mourning your faithful children, who had left their homeland in the simple pursuit of a better future for themselves and their families.

We pray for the victims that they may they rest in peace, and that their memory be eternal. We also pray for healing and strength of their families and loved ones. We also pray for all migrants who take great risks in the hope for a better and more dignified life. May the Almighty protect them in their perilous journey.

Yours in the risen Christ,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary