Ethiopian Orthodox Church elders met on Friday. The church decided to send an invitation to Adanech Abebe, Addis Ababa Mayor for a meeting.
Tensions have been rising between the Holy Synod and the Addis Ababa city administration about the ownership of Meskel square, the capital city’s main square.
Ethiopian orthodox church claims ownership of Meskel Square. The church elders have been protesting against the religious activities of other religious factions at the square.
Last week, a meeting was due to be held in this regard between Ethiopian Orthodox Church elders and the Addis Ababa city government. But the meeting could not be held due to disagreement over the venue of the meeting. Read more
Addis Ababa city government released a statement in this regard last week. The statement said that Addis Ababa government officials kept waiting at Addis Sheraton hotel for the church elders. But church representatives did not attend the meeting. The church authorities said that the venue of the meeting was the Church office, not Addis Sheraton hotel.
Last month, when Protestant Church followers organized a fund-raising program at Meskel Square, there was a confrontation between the security forces of the city and the followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, who opposed the gathering claiming that Meskel Square was the property of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Addis Ababa police used tear gas to disperse people at the square. Dozens were arrested too.
A Protestant Pastor, Pastor Biniam, was also arrested last month after he appeared on some news channels and supported the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s claim over ownership of the Meskel square. He was however released from prison last week.
Ethiopian Orthodox Church wants Addis Ababa mayor, Adanech Abebe, to come to the Church office and clarify about Meskel square. It has not been officially confirmed when the next meeting between Church and Addis Ababa mayor will take place. But according to some unofficial sources, the church has sent an invitation to the Addis Ababa mayor for a meeting on February 4, 2014 (Ethiopian calendar date).
Will Adanech Abebe, Addis Ababa mayor, visit the church office or not? Social media campaigns are being seen for and against both the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Addis Ababa mayor.
The mayor is being accused of showing disrespect to the church by not visiting its office. On the other hand, church elders are being accused of trying to use their religious authority to pressure government officials.