Pope Francis led the faithful in prayer for Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and other victims of violence in Ethiopia.
At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis said he was “saddened” by news of “the violence” in Ethiopia, “which has among its victims Christians of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahado Church”. The Holy Father expressed his closeness to the Church and to its co-Patriarch and Catholicos, who he described “my dear brother Abune Mathias”. He asked for prayer “for all victims of violence” in Ethiopia.
He then led those present in the recitation of the “Hail Mary” for that intention.
Dozens killed in violence
Unrest in Ethiopia in October led to the deaths of more than 70 people. The troubles began with tensions between security forces and a prominent political activist, and were focused in the Oromia region of the country. The government has said that ethnic and religious factors played a role in the violence.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, with between 45 and 50 million adherents, mostly in Ethiopia. The Oriental Orthodox Churches are distinguished by their recognition of only the first three Ecumenical Councils.