Ethiopian Evangelical Loses Appeal Against Prison Sentence for ‘Causing Outrage to Religious Peace and Feeling’

Photo Credit: Johnny Marou

(World Watch Monitor) An Ethiopian court has turned down the appeal of an evangelical Christian sentenced to seven months in prison for “causing outrage to religious peace and feeling.”

In its verdict, published on March 19, the court upheld an earlier sentence given by a judge in the southern city of Arba Minch on Feb. 2.

Temesgen Mitiku Mezemir, 24, the leader of an evangelical fellowship group, was found guilty of defaming the tabot, a replica of the Ark of the Covenant sacred to Orthodox Christians.

World Watch Monitor understands the charges against him were brought by members of the predominant Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), to which just under half of Ethiopia’s population belongs.

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  • Linda Gimbert

    The Ethiopian Orthodox Church isn’t part of of the world wide Orthodox Communion. The belief that the Ark is in Ethiopia isn’t part of Orthodox belief. The Greek Church and Russian plus the others are all the same. The Ethiopian Church even has some books in their Bible that no one else considers as part of the Bible. Like the Book of Enoch. I thought it only right to mention these facts.

    • sammy13

      You thought it right as opposed to what?

      • vicnicholls

        As opposed to having people believe they are are in Communion with the Bible.

        • Joseph Essien-Obot

          That is, the Bible according to your tradition. What makes your bible is superior?

          • vicnicholls

            It is the Word of God. No other group listed above has that. Unless you believe that, then why are you on a Christian news site, unless to trolling?

          • Joseph Essien-Obot

            That’s interesting. So a Christian community whose origins are far more ancient than yours are not Christian because you parade a tradition that’s barely 500 years old?

            Have you checked out the canon of Antioch before or other Christian traditions? Should they consider you not Christian or heretics because you hold on to an “incomplete” canon?

          • vicnicholls

            Age has nothing to do with it. The Catholic church is not Christian. Catholics consider us heretics. They still have the office of the inquisition, its just renamed.

          • Joseph Essien-Obot

            If age has nothing to do with it then what has? Just your imagination?

            What makes you so damn sure you’re not a heretic? Holding a book you have no idea how it got to you. Holding beliefs that every other denomination disagrees with you on one thing or the other.

            Is it by the confusion of beliefs that you know that Catholics are not Christian and you not a heretic? Is it by this same “standard” you know Ethiopians don’t have scriptures in their hands?

          • vicnicholls

            By your use of profanity, I know you’re not Christian. Please take your arguments to those of the same beliefs. I know Christ, and His promises in that book. You’ve demonstrated you don’t believe the promises in the Bible. Holding beliefs consistent with the Bible, if a denomination disagrees with the Bible, they disagree with God, not me. We are all one in Christ Jesus. The fact that the Ethiopians believe their church is right, rather than the Bible, indicates they’re not saved. You have a patriarch? Unbroken line? Just like the Catholic church, you aren’t saved, as its not Biblical. Worship icons? Non Biblical. “Holy tradition” is basically Catholicism without the Pope, and holding something equal to or above the Bible, which is not Biblical and condemned by Christ. Christ rejected the doctrine of men, specifically went against it in the Jews. That’s what the Ethiopian church is. The Bible teaches man is in spiritual bondage due to corruption of his nature thru Adam’s fall. Ethiopian “Christianity” rejects the Bible view. It rejects the doctrine of guilt of all mankind, so it rejects the Bible. Have to confess to a priest? That is not Biblical, hence not Christianity. Believe that only those who’ve had water baptism can be saved? Christ on the cross indicated that’s not true. Ethiopians’s “Christianity” denies the distinction between justification and sanctification. They have a false doctrine of theosis. That’s how I know it is not consistent with Biblical Christianity. Kinda simple: either it agrees with the Bible or it doesn’t. Bye!

          • bpftc1

            I get the biggest kick out of listening to non-catholics explain catholic beliefs. There are over thirty thousand Protestant denominations out there and none of you agree on what you believe. The only thing you are sure of is what Catholics believe. (By the way everything you just wrote is false.) It is obvious you are a lover of Christ and you draw a lot of strength from scripture. To that I say AMEN!!! But have you ever stopped to think why your bible has 4 gospel accounts instead of 5 or 6? Many more were written. Why are there only 27 books in your new testament and not hundreds? There were many more early letters to the churches. It’s because the Catholic church went through them all and declared which writings were inspired and which were not. There was no divine table of contents. It was the Catholic church that gave you the Bible you hold today and the Bible you treasure is treasured by all Catholics as well. Absolutely everything in the Bible reinforces Catholic beliefs. No doubt you are interpreting what you read differently, just don’t be so sure you are not the one misinterpreting the Bible.

          • Joseph Essien-Obot

            I can’t recall using any profanity and I can’t review what I wrote as it has been deleted.

            However, it does appear to me that you seem to think that Jesus handed over a book to the apostles and said, “use this if you believe in me.” but such thing happened!

            The scriptures didn’t fall out of the sky either. The Western Church standardized what the scriptures should contain in the late 4th, early 5th centuries, the East recognizes it but continues to use other books according to their traditions. What interests me is that theologically they are hardly at all different from the Western Church, the church of the standard of Christian scripture.

            If all these ancient churches, in spite of their differences in scripture canons share virtually the same faith, what makes you think that because you use the Luther-modified Catholic canon of scripture that you are right and every other is wrong, ironically including in that a good part of your fellow Protestants?

            That the Ethiopian Church has a larger canon is no argument at all and is rather a call by you to abide by some man-made tradition above everything else courtesy Mr. Luther, that his canon is it and your personal understanding is God’s revelation to mankind.