Why we are standing with Our Holy Father Patriarch Antonious- the Third Patriarch of Eritrea.
Be patient and you will finally win, for a soft tongue can break hard bones. (Proverbs 28:13)
A. The Synod and its legal Authority
The central pillar of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo religion is the Patriarch. The Patriarch is the president, CEO, and the highest spiritual leader in the church hierarchy. The Synod embraces the Holy Synod title only in the presence of His Holiness (The Patriarch). The highest religious authority of our church is the Holy Synod. The laws and centuries-old traditions of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church validates that the Patriarch must preside and bless all Synod meetings.
The Synod can not consider having a legislative and administrative mandate without the presence of the Patriarch. Hence, removing the Patriarch from the central role of the church negates the very essence of the Orthodox Tewahedo religion.
In view of this, we ask the Bishops to follow and respect the position, guidelines and instructions of the Father of the church-His Holiness Patriarch Antonious, the Third Patriarch of Eritrea.
B. The Diocese and its role
The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church Diocese of North America was established by willing participants of Eritrean churches in the United States and Canada and with the blessing of the Holy Synod. These willing participant churches formed a non-profit organization under the laws of the host country. Each church is an independent non-profit organization with its own by-laws and is established under the laws of the host state. Each church conducts its day-to-day administration and is run independently, responsible to its Board of Directors and its members.
The Diocese of North America is also a non-profit registered organization under the laws of the State of Georgia , USA . While the spiritual law of the Diocese is governed by the Holy Synod, the administrative activities are governed by the By-Laws of the Diocese and State Laws Governing Non-profit Organizations.
The Diocese did not take its July 22 nd and Sept 17th decisions lightly as the problem, which started with the Bishops disrespectful actions against our Holy Father directly affected its own existence. Immediately after the problem surfaced when the members of the Synod ganged up against our Holy Father and voted illegally to remove him from his most important duties as a patriarch, the Diocese has seriously evaluated the implication of these illegal acts of the bishops.
The Diocese after:
- Having consulted His Holiness Pope Shenouda of Egypt,
- Reviewing the By laws of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church,
- Researching the Cannon Laws of our Religion
Decided in its Washington - DC annual meeting ( 7/30/2005 ) and reiterated in its Atlanta emergency meeting ( 9/17/2005 ) that:
Our leader is His Holiness Patriarch Antonious, and that we shall only obey his instructions. In particular we shall not accept letters, directives or instruction that does not bear his signature!
C. Our PleaThe current problem in our church is created in Asmara and it should be solved in Asmara . As a result, we are appealing to the Bishops currently roaming North America from city-to-city to follow the long standing traditions and cannon of our church and to follow their spiritual leader-His Holiness Patriarch Antonious. We are asking the bishops to lead by example and show humility by obeying their superiors before they demand any rightful respect.
The Patriarch has said of Abune Lucas and Abune Sinoda I did not send them to America .
The current problem is internal to our church and must be resolved within the Synod of the Eritrea. Abune Shenouda and Abune Lukas must stop the unfounded attacks on the Diocese and its leadership. The Bishops' baseless attacks have greatly saddened the followers of the church and are beneath the dignity of any Bishop. To date the result of their smear campaign has been to sow discord and division among the faithful.The Executive Board of the Diocese
September 28, 2005