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The World Council of Churches (WCC) has acknowledged with regret and sympathy the news of the death of Diyoskoros, Eritrean Orthodox bishop of Seraye, following the announcement of his passing on 21 December by the Eritrean government’s ministry of information.

Following the arrest and imprisonment in 2005 of Abune Antonios, third Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the government encouraged the Holy Synod of the Eritrean Church in April 2007 to remove Abune Antonios from office and appoint as his successor Abune Diyoskoros. Other churches, including the Coptic Orthodox Church, have refused to recognize the legitimacy of this succession. The WCC never formally accepted the leadership of Bishop Diyoskoros as patriarch.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, has called for continuing prayer for Christians in Eritrea: “We affirm the solidarity of churches throughout the world with members of the Eritrean Church, and we pray that justice and peace may become present realities for the people of the nation. May all the departed rest in the everlasting peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

WCC member churches in Eritrea