The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Abune Paulos, died on August 16 following medical treatment.
According to several news reports, Abune Paulos, 76, had been admitted at Balcha Hospital in Addis Ababa after suffering from a heart attack the previous day.
An official by the name of Mulugeta Aserate Kassa told the BBC that Abune Paulos had been “very healthy” on Wednesday, when he led a service in Addis Ababa. However, he was later rushed to the hospital.
Reports reveal that the Holy Synod will hold an emergency session before the end of this week to decide on the date and place of the funeral ceremony.
His Holiness Abune Paulos was a controversial figure – hailed from the [Adwa] Tigray ethnic group, the same as Prime Minister Meles Zenawi – and led Ethiopia’s roughly 40 million Orthodox Christians ever since the ethnic Tigray dominated government came to power in 1992.
However, the process that led to the election of Abune Paulos as head of the Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox Church has been a controversial issue and the source of division among the Orthodox religion followers in the country.
The former Patriarch, Abune Merkorios, after dethroned under disputed circumstances by the then transitional government of Meles Zenawi, has fled in to exile with their followers and established a rival synod in the U.S.