When I Got to Know Two Extraordinarily Great Ethiopians: The Church Connection (By Fikre Mariam Workneh)

When I Got to Know Two Extraordinarily Great Ethiopians: The Church Connection 


By Fikre Mariam Workneh


When I set foot in the unknown, to a life in the Church, at first

It was like a child from parents of a great wealth, expected much to inherit. 


My life in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was of many promises, a high potential

As a deacon from Gojjam, and as an ordained priest at the monastery of Debre Libanos, who 

        could sing hymns so beautiful

Even Emperor Haile Selassie, who attended my services in Harer and Trinidad and 

        Tobago, had admired my skill. 


The Church’s primary core mission was to offer a sacrament and hear a private confession 

To give people strength in their earthly life, as well as to save the souls of the faithful. 


The Church’s leaders are now building a vibrant congregation

Even engaging more young women, not solely relying on the usual men.


I am truly impressed by the Church’s decision to move forward

To bring women into the fold after they had been long ignored and left behind.


Church services are also no longer an exclusive domain of the clergy.  

They have become wide open and accessible to the many. 


I must admit though, there was one issue that has made me sad and has let me down

By some Ethiopian Orthodox Fathers’ un-Godly plot and conspiracy-driven mind 

The Great Patriarch who had done so much for Ethiopia, my birthland

His Holiness Abune Tewophlos was humiliated and killed. 


His Holiness was a Great Reformer of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

He opened new theological schools and modernized existing ones, and sent clergymen 

        abroad to make their minds broader and shine like a torch

His legacy will live on for generations, we should all thank him very much.


I was shaken to the core by the manner His Holiness was killed, and by the fact that his body is 

        left to this day at an unrecognizable graveyard

Unlike his two successors who are buried at the Holy Trinity Church, which he had helped build  

       with his own hand.  


His Holiness was my Mentor, my spiritual Father 

When he asked me to serve in Trinidad and Tobago, it was truly an honor

He will remain in my mind, heart, and soul, shining like an eternal flame forever.

The same is true with my sadness about the Emperor

The Great Ethiopian Monarch who was brutally killed, and it was certainly a horror. 


His Majesty fostered the modernization of Ethiopia, building schools, hospitals, and roads

He was only human who could do so much, if we are talking about fairness. 


As for me, who was at the center of the Church once upon a time 

Fifty years have passed since I have become a celibate priest no more. 


I met a former nun in the United States and formed a family

My wife and I have got three daughters who are very lovely.  


I just hope His Holiness, Abune Tewophlos, was understanding when he heard the news 

        about my decision

For he was a forgiving Father and a fair-minded Person!

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