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H.H. Abune Mattias of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church visits Geneva, 2017. Photo: Xanthi Morfi/WCC

H.H. Abune Mattias of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church visits Geneva, 2017. Photo: Xanthi Morfi/WCC

The WCC’s executive committee has welcomed recent reconciliations in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

In a statement issued from its 2-8 November meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, the committee also invited further support from member churches for further efforts there.

A September peace agreement cemented last summer’s announcement, by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki at their leadership summit, of an end to the countries’ long-standing dispute, which dates from the Eritrean-Ethiopian war of 1998-2000, in which an estimated 80,000 people lost their lives.

The peace agreement paved the way for re-opening ports and borders, reinstating diplomatic relations, and beginning a process of healing the wounds from the costly conflict.

Adding to “this season of reconciliation and restoration in the region,” the committee noted, are contemporaneous developments among the churches there.  The statement noted the reunification of the “Addis Ababa Synod” and “Synod in Exile” in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, as well as recent contacts and visits with its Eritrean counterpart, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is one of the founding member churches of the WCC in 1948, and its patriarch H.H. Abune Mattias visited the WCC in 2017. The Eritrean church joined the WCC in 2003.

Read the full statement by the Executive Committee

Learn more about the long road to reconciliation

See video from the 2017 visit of H.H. Abune Mattias to the WCC

Learn more about recent ecumenical efforts toward regional reconciliation

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