‘Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church’ Patriarch Abune Paulos was one of the most notable. His religious journey began when he entered the ‘Abba Garima Monastery’ at a young age. He continued his religious service as a bishop, and for his persistent hard labor, he was eventually given the title of archbishop. However, his work as a religious figure was difficult because the ruling communist party did not agree with the Church’s operations, and he and his bishop partners were imprisoned as a result. Abune Paulos went into exile and worked as a religious missionary in the United States. When he returned to Ethiopia, the patriarch sought to assist the people in any way he could, even attempting to mediate peace between two warring nations. Since then, his efforts to bring about peace have been warmly praised. Despite being a religious leader, the patriarch did not deny the presence of science and backed vaccinations as a means of illness prevention. He even urged for HIV/AIDS patients to take antiviral drugs in addition to spiritual therapies. This devout man, on the other hand, retained traditional ideas about homosexuals and wanted the state to prohibit their actions. Continue reading to learn more about Abune Paulos’ life, works, and accomplishments.
Childhood and Adolescence
Abune Paulos was born on November 3, 1935, in Adwa, an Ethiopian market town in the Tigray area. Gebre Medhin Wolde Yohannes was his original name. His family had a close relationship with the ‘Abba Garima Monastery,’ and when he was six years old, he became a deacon trainee there. He then became a monk and eventually a priest.
Paulos studied in the ‘Theological College of the Holy Trinity,’ in Addis Ababa’s Kebena neighborhood, where he learned both religious and secular ideas.
In the United States, he received more theological studies at ‘St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.’ Later, he went to the ‘Princeton Theological Seminary’ for his doctoral studies. Abune Tewophilos, the then Patriarch of the ‘Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church,’ summoned him in 1974, and he returned to Ethiopia after Haile Selassie, the nation’s Emperor, was deposed in a revolution.
Then, along with four others, he was consecrated as a bishop and given the name Abune Paulos. These bishops, however, were chosen without the approval of the ‘Derg’ committee’s newly formed communist government. Five bishops were imprisoned as a result of this, and Patriarch Abune Tewophilos was eventually executed. Paulos and his fellow bishops were released from prison in 1983. He moved to ‘Princeton’ to pursue his doctoral studies a year later, but remained in exile during that time.
Later Years of Abune
Even while in exile, Abune Takla Haymanot, the Third Patriarch of the ‘Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church,’ advanced Paulos from the rank of bishop to Archbishop. After the ‘Derg’ politician Mengistu’s tyranny collapsed and the ‘Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’ of Meles Zenawi created the government in 1991, the Archbishop returned to Ethiopia.
The Patriarch Abune Merkorios, who was close to the communist dictator, was eventually ousted from his office by the Church’s regulatory body. Merkorios and his followers fled into exile in 1992, forming a breakaway synod in the United States. At the same time, Paulos was chosen as Ethiopia’s new Patriarch. As Patriarch, he eagerly became a guide to Ethiopia’s millions of Orthodox Christians.
He was instrumental in assisting various orthodox churches around the world in forming alliances. He was also one of the World Council of Churches’ seven presidents. In 1993, Eritrea became an independent country, and Paulos granted permission for the ‘Eritrea Orthodox Church’ to leave Ethiopia. This patriarch sympathized with the people who had suffered under Mengistu’s tyranny. He also attended the funerals of a number of people who died suddenly during the dictatorship of the latter.
He emphasized the need of kid immunization and even suggested that the whole public be educated about it.
The Patriarch further urged that HIV/AIDS patients who seek spiritual healing be provided antiviral medication in addition to holy water. He did not encourage the use of condoms, however, and held that chastity and monogamy should be followed as preventions.
Major Projects of Abune
He acted as a negotiator to bring the border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea to an end. Thousands of people had died in the fight, and the patriarch’s efforts to end the strife were lauded.
Achievements & Awards
The ‘United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) awarded him the ‘Nansen Medal’ for his contributions to peace and philanthropy. He served as the Honorary President of ‘Religions for Peace,’ a non-profit organization founded by religious leaders from around the world to promote peace.
Personal History and Legacy
He had a traditional attitude about gays, and in 2008, he was one of the Ethiopian religious leaders who lobbied legislators to outlaw homosexual behavior. This eminent Ethiopian Patriarch passed away on August 16, 2012, and the cause of his death is unknown. Many people believe he died from a heart attack.
Estimated Net Worth
Abune is one of the wealthiest Religious Leaders and one of the most well-known Religious Leaders. Abune Paulo’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
He was the first Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church to come from the ethnic group ‘Tigray.’