Radio Erena: 05 October 2017
Government of Eritrea detains 2 (two) members of Bizen Monastery in retaliation to the denunciation by the Monastery against 2 (two) bishops for the Orthodox Church who are believed to collude with the PFDJ.
According to a press release published by the Synod of the Orthodox Church for North America, Europe and the Middle East on the 1st of October 2017, two holy men from the Monastery have been taken away by the country’s national security agents following a strong condemnation issued against Bishop Lukas and Bishop Basilos for allegedly colluding with the ruling party – PFDJ.
The Monastery believes the two bishops allowed the PFDJ to interfere in the daily operations of the Orthodox church and that they have acted in contempt of the rules and regulations of the church which also jeopardizes the integrity of the church.
The Synod strongly condemns the arrest of the two holy men by the government.
The Eritrean Synod of the Orthodox Church in Asmara had previously warned that it would take action against the members of the Monastery.
It is to be recalled, in a condemnation letter released on the 12th of September 2017 – two weeks after observing the Geez New Year’s and St. John’s religious holiday, the officials of the Monastery openly exposed the two accused bishops – stating the roles they have been playing in contempt of the Orthodox church by acting in violation of the church’s rules and regulations.
Although in 2006 the bishops – HH Lukas and HH Basilos have been denounced by the Eritrean Patriarch – HH Anthonios (who has been put under house-arrest by the government for the past 11 years), members and followers of the Monastery still believe that the two bishops have abandoned their holy duties and turned into government agents who chose to serve the government.
According to the Global Religious Advocacy Council, the Eritrean Orthodox Church has been politically controlled since 2005 which evidently led to illegally remove the 3rd Patriarch of the country’s Orthodox church and arrest a number of bishops who are deemed to openly speak up against the political interference by the government.
The Council further pointed out the damages and crimes committed by Bishops Lukas and Basilos against the church and fellow holy men by forcing them to enlist in the National Service program against their will and against the church’s rules to participate in the military training.
Moreover, the sources noted, the Council strongly supported the actions taken by the holy men at Bizen Monastery against the bishops and encourage other leaders of the church to follow suit.