In Tigray, the Clergy Are Victims of Massacres

Source: FSSPX News

Two Orthodox priests from the Tigray region

At least 78 priests have reportedly been murdered in Tigray, in northern Ethiopia, in the past five months. This period saw the fighting between Addis Ababa and the Tigray People's Liberation Front intensify in violence.

The macabre news was revealed by The Telegraph, in its May 10, 2021 edition. Alerted by the Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church which relies on the testimony of several survivors, the newspaper claims that the Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers are targeting Christians at their gatherings.

A witness reports: “On the afternoon of January 9 (2021), there were many of us in the church of Adi’Zeban Karagiorgis. We were there to celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary. Suddenly eight Ethiopian soldiers entered the cemetery. The soldiers chose 12 young deacons between the ages of 15 and 20. They took them aside and slaughtered them.”

Fr. Hadera survived the massacre in Gergera Da Mariam church. The 76-year-old priest reports that he was praying on February 1, 2021, when 12 Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers entered the church.

“They entered the holy hall with their shoes on. They shouted at us saying, ‘You are our enemies because you have consoled the villagers and preached to them that this would all pass. You should not have done it,’” said Fr. Hadera.

And the priest adds: “There were six of us priests in the hall. They shot us and left the church. All of my friends are dead, and it's a miracle that I made it out.”

The Ethiopian Autocephalous Church estimates that the number of clergy who have lost their lives could be much higher, not including altar boys and monks who were not spared in these abuses.

Tigray, a predominantly Christian region, has been in the throes of fighting since November 4, 2020. The Ethiopian government then launched a military operation against the forces of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). This party, whose members have been in government for a long time, was created in opposition to the new central leadership.

After months of conflict, neighboring Eritrea for the first time admitted on April 18 that its troops had reinforced Ethiopian forces. They are suspected of several massacres directed against the clergy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

If, to date, the situation is now to the advantage of the federal troops and their allies, the ethnic massacres have not ceased, sparing no one, children or clerics.