|Co-Patriarch and Catholicos of the |
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Abune Mathias, May 2018
|Church||Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church|
|Appointed||28 February 2013|
|Consecration||Holy Trinity Cathedral|
|Birth name||Teklemariam Asrat|
|Born||1941 (age 78–79)|
Agame District, Tigray Province, Ethiopian Empire
|Denomination||Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church|
Abune Mathias (born Teklemariam Asrat; 1941) is an Ethiopian patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church since 2013. His full title is "His Holiness Abune Mathias I", "Sixth Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia", "Archbishop of Axum" and "Ichege of the See of Saint Taklehaimanot".
Teklemariam was ordained as deacon in 1954 by Abune Markos, the then Archbishop of Eritrea. Deacon Teklemariam served in several capacities at the Chohé monastery, in Tembien district of Tigray, where he stayed for most of the subsequent 14 years. In 1963, he was ordained as a priest and monk at Chohé. Now known as Abba Teklemariam, he left the monastery to further his education in Addis Ababa, and served in the Holy Trinity Cathedral from 1971 to 1976. During this time, the government of Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown, and the then Patriarch Abune Tewophilos was arrested and subsequently executed by the Derg military regime.
Following the enthronement of Patriarch Teklehaimanot to replace Patriarch Tewophilos, Abba Teklemariam was appointed to serve as the Patriarchal Vicar to the new Patriarch, and functioned as his closest aide. In 1978, as the Derg identified the senior Archbishops and Bishops with the fallen Imperial government, it ordered that all the senior hierarchs go into retirement. As a result, Patriarch Abune Tekle Haimanot had to anoint 14 new bishops to fill the vacancies left by the retiring hierarchs. Abba Teklemariam was thus anointed as the new bishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem and the Holy Land in 1978 and adopted the new episcopal name and title of Abune Mathias. While serving in Jerusalem he was elevated from Bishop to Archbishop.
In early 1980, Abune Mathias became the first leader of the church to issue a denunciation of the rule of the communist Derg. Consequently, he lived abroad for more than thirty years. He pronounced an anathema against Mengistu Haile Mariam and the members of the regime, and then went into exile. Abune Mathias eventually settled in Washington, D.C., where he presided over an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church made up of exiles who had fled the Ethiopian revolution, and continued to broadcast messages against the Derg regime on Voice of America.
In 1992, Abune Mathias returned to Ethiopia following the fall of the Derg and of Patriarch Abuna Merkorios to retake his seat in the Holy Synod. Following the enthronement of Patriarch Abune Paulos, Abune Mathias was named Archbishop of North America. Later, the Archdiocese was divided and Abune Mattias served as Archbishop of the United States, when Canada became a separate archdiocese. In 2009, the Archdiocese of the United States was divided again into three new Archdioceses, and Abune Mathias was asked to return to take up his former Archdiocese of Jerusalem. Before departing for the Holy Land, Abune Mathias played a key role in initiating attempts to reach a reconciliation between the Holy Synod in Addis Ababa, and the exiled Synod in the United States headed by former Patriarch Abune Merkorios.
Abune Mathias became the 6th Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the election held on 28 February 2013 where he received 500 of the 806 the votes cast by a college of electors representing various sections of the Church. He was enthroned at Holy Trinity Cathedral on 3 March 2013, in the presence of the hierarchs of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria in Egypt, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in India and many other representatives of other churches.
Following an agreement made on July 27, 2018, the previously exiled Abune Merkorios was reinstated and now serves as co-patriarch with Abune Mathias.
Abune Mathias is fluent in Amharic, Tigrigna, English, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic.
Abune Mathias was awarded the Order of St. Thomas (the highest honorary award given by Malankara Orthodox Church in India) by Catholicos of the East HH Baselios Marthoma Paulos II at the chapel of Orthodox Theological Seminary (Old Seminary), Kottayam, India on 24 November 2016.
- "His Holiness Abune Mathias elected as sixth Patriach of Ethiopian Orthodox Church". The Sheba Post. 28 February 2013. Archived from the original on 8 March 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- Leustean, Lucian N. (30 May 2014). Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century. ISBN 9781317818663.
- Bernardelli, Giorgio (28 February 2013). "Ethiopia: Matthias is elected new Patriarch of the Orthodox Church". Vatican Insider. La Stampa. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- "La iglesia ortodoxa de Etiopía elige a su nuevo Papa".
- "Reino de Aksum: Abunä Matəyas, nuevo Patriarca de la Iglesia Ortodoxa Etíope". 2013.
- "Abuna Mathias, nouveau patriarche éthiopien-orthodoxe". La Croix. March 2013.
- "Abune Mathias elected as the 6th Patriarch of Ethiopian Orthodox Church". Ethioabay. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Dickinson, Augustine (31 July 2018). "Decades-Old Schism in the Ethiopian Church Mended". Ethiopicist Blog. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
- "Order Of St. Thomas". www.notknowingyourhistoryisnotknowingyourself.wordpress.com. 16 September 2018.
|Oriental Orthodox titles|
| Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
With: Abune Merkorios 2018–present