ETHIOPIA: Church Appeals for Peace in New Year Message

By Paschal Norbert

ADDIS ABABA, SEPTEMBER 14, 2021 (CISA) – “We have seen the horrors of war in our time more than once, so we write about the horrors of this tragedy and the suffering it has caused to our people, our families, and in this New Year we pray again in faith and hope,” rallied Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel, to the clergy and faithful in Ethiopia.

The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE), in his New Year’s Eve 2014 message on 10 September 2021, urged the people to embrace peace and shun conflicts against the backdrop of the ongoing Tigray War.

“God loves peace and hates conflict. Those who love peace and make peace will humbly obey God. Peace creates peace. Disagreements can also lead to the saving of lives through good words and deeds,” said Cardinal Souraphiel.

Conscious of the challenges of the previous year, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa appealed to everyone to forgive and reconcile while being hopeful for a better future.

“We encourage those who work for peace and reconciliation, both at home and abroad, as our faith, and we pray that they will avoid hateful news and analysis and preach love and reconciliation in this New Year,” he said.

Cardinal Souraphiel urged the faithful to heed the call of their Christian responsibility to help the poor and the marginalized.

“We would like to entrust you to fulfill your Christian duty to help the poor, the needy, and the displaced in this New Year’s celebration,” implored the Cardinal.

The Ethiopian New Year (Enkutatash) was celebrated on 11 September, marking the transition from the year of Mathew to the year of Mark. The Ethiopian calendar is based on the Coptic calendar, which was fixed to the Julian calendar in 25 BC by Emperor Augustus of Rome.

The New Year’s address comes in the wake of the continued conflict between the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a regional government in the Northern Tigray Region.

The conflict that has thrown the country into turmoil began around November 2020 when the federal government forces launched an offensive against the TPLF forces.

Human Rights Watch reports that the fighting and continued restrictions on humanitarian access forced more than two million people to flee their homes, with thousands fleeing into Sudan, while 2.3 million need humanitarian aid.