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From: His Eminence Abba Seraphim, Metropolitan of Glastonbury
His Excellency Negassi Sengal,
of the State of
I write to you on behalf of the clergy and people of the British Orthodox Church to express our grave concerns over the Eritrean government’s treatment of His Holiness Patriarch Antonios of Eritrea.
As a church of the Coptic Orthodox
Patriarchate we British Orthodox enjoy full communion with the Eritrean
Orthodox Church and, as Your Excellency knows well, we have always held the
According to the canons of the Orthodox Church, the removal of the Patriarch by the civil authority is irregular and uncanonical. The charges brought against His Holiness are vague and unsubstantiated and no opportunity has been accorded His Holiness to defend himself in public at a transparently open and independent hearing. Equally, there is little confidence that the Eritrean Holy Synod, as presently constituted, is independent of government interference, especially in view of the imposition of Mr. Yoftehe Dimitros, a layman, as a government appointee over church matters. In accordance with Canon Law, His Holiness Patriarch Antonios has appealed to the Council of the Monasteries of the Eritrean Orthodox Church and The Coptic Orthodox Orthodox Church through which the Eritrean Orthodox Church received its canonical status.
The clergy and people of the British Orthodox Church are also concerned for the health and well-being of Patriarch Antonios and have been greatly distressed at reports that his telephone has been cut off, his chauffeur and other servants dismissed, his official car removed and general harassment to which he appears to have been subjected.
I would ask Your Excellency to convey
to your government in
Yours very sincerely in XP,