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Former Eritrean Patriarch Released from House Arrest

Photo: Abune Antonios

- Holy Synod accepts Abune Antonios' Apology.
- Abune Antonios is released from house arrest.


09 Aug 2016 - Abune Antonios has asked for love, peace and forgiveness in a letter to Eritrea's Holy Synod.

The former Patriarch Abune Antonios, born July 12, 1927, was the third Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. He was deposed by the Eritrean government in 2007 after the Patriarch allegedly involved with 'dirty' politics, angering some members of the Holy Synod.

On 13 January 2006, a secret session of the Holy Synod was held in Asmara to remove the Patriarch from office before he was replaced as Patriarch by Abune Dioskoros, with the support of the Eritrean government on 27 May 2007.

Abune Antonios' predecessor, His holiness the fourth Patriarch Dioskoros, passed away following a long illness after receiving treatment both at home and abroad eight months ago.

To date, no Patriarch has been chosen by the Holy Synod.

The Orthodox Church, which has ancient roots in Eritrea, is one of four approved religions in the country, including Roman Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam.


Antonios was born in July 12, 1927 in the town of Hembrti, south west of Asmara in the former province of Hamasien. His father was a priest and he gave two of his children as a gift to the Monastery of Abune Endrias (Andrews). Both children grew up in the monastery and became monks when they become adults. Abune Antonios is the fifth born child from a family of six, and he entered the monastery of Debre Tsege Abune Endrias at the age of five. He grew up in the Monastery while being educated for the service of the church, and became a monk. He was ordained priest in 1942, and later elected Abbot in 1955.

When the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church sought autocephaly, he was one of five abbots of monasteries that went to Egypt to be ordained as bishop so that the church would have its own Holy Synod.

Abune Antonios was ordained as Bishop Antonios of Hamasien-Asmara on 19 June 1994 in Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, Cairo by Shenouda III, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Following the death of Abune Yacob in 2003, he was elected Patriarch in popular elections which were unanimously endorsed by the Holy Synod of the church.

His ordination and enthronement as Patriarch took place on 23 April 2004 in Asmara, at the hands of Pope Shenouda III, assisted by Eritrean and Coptic Orthodox Metropolitans and Bishops.
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