From Ethiopia today came the sad news that the leader of of the Orthodox Church there, His Holiness Abune Paulos (old/broken link: https://www.theafricareport.com/index.php/20120816501817156/east-horn-africa/ethiopian-orthodox-church-patriarch-dies-501817156.html) has died:
Paulos, whose full title was His Holiness Abune Paulos, Fifth Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Ichege of the See of St Tekle Haymanot, Archbishop of Axum, died early Thursday in Addis Ababa, aged 76.
The patriarch, who was one of the seven serving presidents of the World Council of Churches is said to have been taken ill a few weeks ago, but the cause of his death, is yet to be established.
Born in Adwa in Tigray Province of the northern part of the country, the patriarch did his education at the Theological College of the Holy Trinity in Addis Ababa under the patronage of Patriarch Abune Tewophilos.
He was sent to study at the St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States and later undertook doctoral degree at Princeton Theological Seminary.
During his pastoral visit to Ethiopia in April, Msgr. Kozar had a chance to visit with the patriarch:
Our last stop of the day, in the late afternoon, was most notable. We were received by His Holiness, Abune Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. This role places him as the supreme shepherd of more than 35 million souls in this country, plus a significant number of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians living elsewhere.
The patriarch is quite a character. Entering the receiving room, resplendent with elegant furnishings, and seeing him seated on a throne, one expects that his manner would be quite formal and the visit very pro forma — quite the contrary. This man is full of wisdom and insight, but also very disarming with his humor. Out of the blue comes a quip or a jovial word. But make no mistake; this man is a first-class public relations expert and a high-power salesman. He is so good at promoting the church, I kidded him and told him some of the bishops in North America might want to hire him as a development consultant!
We had a delightful conversation and he obviously regards the solidarity with the Catholic Church as a precious gift. He especially holds Gerry Jones, our regional director in Ethiopia, in highest regard and made references to that relationship many times, sometimes in jest, but always with deep respect.
As I was bidding him goodbye and receiving his blessing, I offered him a heartfelt invitation to honor us with a visit to our office in New York. He received this invitation warmly.
Our thoughts this day are with the people of Ethiopia, and we join them in praying for the soul of their patriarch.