Radio Erena: 10 October 2017
Eritrea denies a request made by the visiting senior delegation of the World Council of Churches – WCC, to meet the deposed leader of the county’s Orthodox Tewahdo Church – HH Patriarch Antonios, who has been under house arrest for the past 11 years.
The delegation, led by the Program Executive and Covener for Africa – Dr. Nugussu Leggesse and head of the Ecumenical Relations – Fr. Dr. Daniel Buda, made the meeting request following their meeting with the Secretary General of the Synod of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church – HH Bishop Lukas and the Synod’s administrator – HH Bishop Basilos.
The delegation, which disclosed the visit was granted after several attempts in the past years, stayed in Eritrea from the 22nd to the 28th of September.
It was to be recalled that WCC – after a visit to Eritrea a decade ago, called up on both Eritrea and Ethiopia to end the border dispute between them and said that it would pray and work for peace between the countries in an attempt to partake in the resolution of border dispute.
According to Dr. Legesse, the delegation came to Eritrea with great expectations and that they were looking forward to having constructive dialogue and encounters with the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church which is a WCC member church and with other churches, religious communities and state authorities.
The WCC’s delegation is visiting the country amid tensions between the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church and the government following a condemnation on the 12th of September by the Bizen Monastery on the Secretary General of the Synod [which works under the umbrella of the Eritrean National Security Agency] – HH Bishop Lukas and the Synod’s administrator – HH Bishop Basilos, for colluding with the National Security Agency to destabilize the church.
The Security Agency – after warning to pursue legal actions against the monastery, arrested two monks whom it allegedly suspected of making the condemnations on the heads of the Synod.