Home > City Journal > Much ado about statuary

Much ado about statuary

Abune Paulos statue/ Addis Journal

A new statue erected in the chic parts of Addis is getting residents talking. Standing serene and sedate in the western parts of Bole Medhani Alem Church, the sculpture depicts someone who is currently alive.
The two meters fiber statue depicts the highest figure of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Paulos, holding cross his right hand and cane in his left hand. The unveiling ceremony which was timed to coincide with the 18th anniversary of the Patriarch’s coronation day on July 11, 2010 attracted huge crowds and controversy. Hearing the debate from afar, one would assume that this is big monument that is instantly recognizable.
In reality, the statute isn’t actually that easily spotted from ground level, and you could be just 100 meters away and not realize it.
Most members of the church and residents are unimpressed by the idea of a living patriarch depicted in stone image in front of a church in what looks like a heathen practice.They see a spiritual leader growing megalomaniacal and running roughshod for the canons of the church. Others say the statue is wasteful and untimely at a time when the church is going through financial difficulty. (Newspaper reports had it that the sculpture cost more than 300 thousand birr and was commissioned by faithful of Sefere Genet Debre Kuskuam Kidist Maryma.It was also announced that three other statues of the patriarch would be erected in Nairobi, Johannesburg and Jerusalem)
An eight-page document anonymously distributed by certain members of the church describe the whole business as a worrying development that shows the distressing situation the church finds itself in. The document argues that it is nowhere set forth in the bible or the church’s literature a saint’s life (Whether the patriarch could be called one is a different matter altogether) would be commemorated with the stone image. “It is a pagan practice that has nothing to do with the revered orthodox tradition,’ it reads.
Supporters say that the statue is a celebration of the patriarch’s life and work and the critics are the devil’s advocate who are looking for flaws where there are none. They also say this is a gift from church members and no church funds have been used.Whatever the case, the sharp discussion fueled by the statue is going to stay for some time to come.

Categories: City Journal
  1. July 18, 2010 at 1:42 am

    I am an Ethiopian Orthodox realign follower, but don’t have any respect to this guy. I even consider him a political leader.
    I can’t wait for the time when we all going to demolish it.

  2. Bruke
    July 18, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Who ever commissioned this work has done a great disservice to the Orthodox Church. And for the Patriarch not to put a stop to it and penalize those sycophants is bordering on the blasphemy. How could he – himself – demand to be ‘canonized’?
    ስምንተኛው ሺ ማለት ይህ ነው! What other or more evidence do one need to realize that we are nearing ‘Judgment Day’?

  3. Teddy Melakku
    July 18, 2010 at 5:11 am

    For a moment I thought, the Abune protested TPLF’s injustices, got executed secretly, and now TPLF is erecting a statue in order to please his supporters. Where is the hand gun he oft mixes up with the cross?

  4. sol
    July 19, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Abune Paouos is advanced, probably too advanced for the church.

  5. ll pol
    July 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Surprisingly the late Aleka Ayalew, may God rest his soul in peace, had to say this some 14 yrs back in the statements of his excommunication


    also criticising the then introduced new canonical law claiming that the Pope was turning himself into an idol to be worshiped and trying to elevate his status above the Holy Church … … now there we go we have the culmination of that process.


    Although blind since childhood (Aleka Ayalew), the eyes of his soul has showed him what we have failed to see with our naked eyes.

    May God forgive us!

  6. ll pol
  7. Teferi
    July 19, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    I say this is going too far. First his pictures is in all the churches in Addis then a monument that cost all 300,000. In a church??// Oh god have marcy.

    I feel Abune Petros was a true Saint he died for his people but his monument is not inside a church. He fought for his country and represented his faith and sucrified his life.

    Please tell me what did this man do to deserve a monument. Who heard a living person putting on his on monument.
    It is a shame. I hope this eugn eugn will backfire on him soon.
    True: sementegnaw shi.

  8. zalanbesa
    July 20, 2010 at 12:24 am

    It is realy a very taugh time for EOC and ETHIOPIA in general. whoever is behind this idea and the pope himself with all due respect are on the final move to compeletly dismantle the pilar of our belief. Surprisingly enough we are cooperating for their destractve move by not showing our unhappyness and they are getting bold day by day as we are also getting into a deep sleep. The PM posted his picture on the main squares and now the pope put or give ok to put his satatute. it is clear what will be next.

  9. teshome
    July 21, 2010 at 1:37 am

    For the last two decayed, the Ethiopian opposition press and supporters work hard and tried to effectively decapitated the patriaric and paint his name in the ugliest look possible. In enormous occassion, He was meant to face and run a risk of loosing the trust of people by the infulences of the political leaders and their followers in the opposition camp. We also wittenesed the media cicus contrived to muddy the waters and this has been for long a good battel field in the dispora community who is know for long champion of hetred politics. In my space of understanding, the assumption that this patriaric was a politician, came from stories of full of fabrication and outright lies. Truely speaking each and every of us lack a clear mind set to accept his patriaric prestigous position and I do not know for whom we designing that position and on what merits. If we are orthodox religios followers we should accept that he is our religios leader, that is what it is?

  10. Helmi
    July 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    The man in the first place is not abuna and not other than a catholic church priest assigned by zenawi another out law with no knowledge of
    the Ethiopian orthodox church as of Ethiopian history at all except that what they have been preaching in jungle to realize their looting dream,
    Aba g/medhin is simply a street smart with Ak-47 in his pocket and a
    politician who is suppose to get justice like Zenawi,Simon;Sebhat Nega

  11. behailu amogne
    July 31, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    eyesus geta new.The blood of Jesus cleans all sins. If only abune paulos accepts jesus christ a his personal savior every thing will be alright for him & EOC.

  12. yekereme
    August 8, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    not christian myself so i couldn’t care less as i know none of the religious practices in our country are healthy for us, but i know the messages told by the religions of which i have myself found some great wisdom

    so i really feel sorry for you guys and do understand the resignation you feel right now, but where is your real commitment, other than making this comment right below a certain blogpost vent yourself and then the second after go about your life, where is your courage, take your stance, make him leave his abune…whatever and seek asylum in hollywood instead, he will get one or two of those monuments for having made such a fool out of himself

  13. aron
    October 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Lord give mercy for his soul. i red this news. . . .i dont know how many times. I couldnt get used to it. What is next. A church!? Ya what about a church in his name? since we have come this far to find justification and debate about this. as teshome above told us

    “Truely speaking each and every of us lack a clear mind set to accept his patriaric prestigous position“ . As for me i love the guy so much for his craving to become a celeb. so i say YA PAUL GO ON! WHY NOT A CHURCH??!.

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