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The execution of Ethiopian Patriarch, Abune Petros

On this date, July 29, 1936, the Italian forces occupying Ethiopia executed Abune Petros.

Italy invaded Ethiopia in May 1936, forcing Emperor HaileSelassie into exile.  Gen. Rodolfo Graziani, who led the invasion forces, proclaimed: “The Duce [Mussolini] will have Ethiopia, with or without the Ethiopians.”

Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch Abune Petros became the symbol of resistance to Italian occupation. When the Italians ordered him to stop his incitement, he replied: “The cry of my countrymen who died due to your nerve-gas and terror machinery will never allow my conscious to accept your ultimatum. How can I see my God if I give a blind eye to such a crime?”

On July 28, Italians repelled a large insurgent attack by the sons of Ras Kassa between Addis Ababa and Dessie. The next day, the Italians executed Abune Petros.

34 thoughts on “The execution of Ethiopian Patriarch, Abune Petros

  1. I can’t help but thinking, now that patriarch deserves a statue!! not aba Diabilos who dared erect one for himself and while he is still standing…how disgraceful is that!!!

  2. “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.”-The Fall of Babylon, Revelation 18:24, New Testament, The Bible.

    “በደም የታጠበ ቤተ መንግስት በፀበል ይታጠብ:: የእርስ በርስ ጦርነት ምንም ታርክ ስለሌለው ወንድም ወንድሙን መገደል ይተው: ውሸት: ዝሙት: ማጨስ: መስከር: ሌብነት ይቅር::” – ልሳነ ኢትዮጲያ:

    The Ethiopian Synaxarium, where countless martyrs adorne each page:

  3. ETHIOPIANS are very brave and one of them is Abune petros and they are pround of African people but unfortanately now under malelit rule ETHIOPIA is colonised indirect by the faciast greedy goverment of the united state.
    Death to malelit tigray and to its all supporters.

  4. if the Patriarch Abune Petros live to day his holiness would have say the same to this WOYANE “THE CRAY OF my COUNTRYMAN WHO SAFFER IN THE HAND OF WOYANE will never allow my conscious to accept this murderers to destroy my land.How can I see my God if i give a blind eye to such a crime” may God bless our true Patriarch and also the true patriot of Ethiopia the past, the present and the future.

  5. Thank you, Elias for helping us to remember this extra ordinary human being. He should live in our hearts and never be forgotten. In every sense of the word, he was a real man of God.

    With out a doubt, the fake, fat Woyane Patriarch Aba Diabelos would have sold Ethiopia and killed more Ethiopians for Italians.

  6. Folks you can compare Aba Paulos with Abune Petros. Aba Paulos who said nothing when woyanes are selling Ethiopian fertile land to foreigners,who chased university students while they were trying to have shelter in Ethiopian Orthodox church,who didn’t say a single word while woyane soldiers killed more than 200 innocent civilians in 2005 and so on,now he erected a statue. Shame on you Aba Paulos!!First of all ask yourself what you did in the past and try to act like a religious leader not a political figure.

  7. Lisane Ethiopia, please go preach your gospel in church and stop mixing politics with religion. When it comes to the Woyane the bibilical truth “an eye for eye” is the weapon of choice. As long as TPLF and its devlish high priest Ato Gebre Medin are in power there will not be any “tebel” enough to cleans the blood of Ethiopians spilled for the last 19 years. You want to save them with prayers, please go ahead and join the heretic so called Patriarch. Stop the nonsense!!

  8. God bless Abune Petros’ soul.
    With appreciation, for observing and sharing this very historical day.

    Another hero of a priest is the one who was challenging Mengistu HaileMariam in Workers Party Council. Recently, it was posted as part of a collection of Ethiopian history on It is not there as of today. If possible, I want to know everything about that priest.
    Good idea and nice link, but did not find TG’s Petros Yachin se’at.

  9. The priest you mentioned who challenged the derg was actually the Patriarch of Ethiopia, the late Abune Tekle Haymanot who died of dehydration after he decided not to eat or drink if Mengistu did not stop the massacre of young Ethiopians, prior to his hunger strike, he had a very strong and confrontational conversation with Menegistu who got offended and ordered the Patriarch not to interfere in government business what-so-ever. Abune Tekle Haymanot never shoes or any flashy garments or robes not even like the ones ordinary popes dress, he only wore clothes poor monks wear in the monasteries, never had a golden cross embedded with jewels but only wooden cross, his rosary (mekuteria) was wooden, he was a very extra-ordinary person we can all dare to compare him with the 13th century, one of Ethiopia’s saints Abune Tekle Haymanot.
    God Bless

  10. Whoever precious of a person responded to Eden1,

    Thank you so much beyond words. I saw the clip about two years back on and recently refreshed on the arbegnoch site. It had continued to remain in my memory as someone what heroes are made up of. He was very special.

    Patriarch Teklehaimanot/20th century in discussion is worth comparing to his name sake the deity Abune/Kidus Teklehaimanot cherished and close to millions of Ethiopian Orthodox followers. Although very close to my heart because I grew up with his huge portrait around, unfortunately I do not know the details of his history either. What is stack in my mind is the continued image of the loss of one of his legs from persistent prayer.

  11. Elias thank you for remembering the grate religious man and our true god fearing Pope. I remember something about our pope Peter, I think if I am not wrong he was remembered in Sweden as the century’s greatest man. Elias can you please find more information about him mainly how he was executed I heard some time ago it was cruel way of execution. Thank you again Elias by the way why Ethiomedia does not have this kind of postings I sure they would like to be number one instead of posting TPLF heroes Hayelom and Kinfe etc. the true children of Ethiopia may need more exposure on Ethiomedia and other sights than some idiot TPLF members Elias again thank you!, thank you!, thank you!.

  12. You can be born on the same day from the same mother. You can both be rich or poor. You can both have the same degree. You may even both have the same religion and the same name. One is a renegade. The other is a martyr excuted today July 29, 1936.

    The renegade and the traitor is “Tagay” Paulos. His name is Ato Gebremedhin. He is gang Gebremedhin. And the martyr is Abune Petros who was executed by Mussolini of Italy in Addis Abeba in 1936 on this day.

    Sadly EOTC is negotiating with the traitor Paulos forgetting the martyr Abune Petros who gave his life as a sacrifice for Ethiopia. Thanks to him, we inherited a free Ethiopia only to let her fall in the hands of an enemy within. In the hands of Weyane and gang Gebremedhin.

    Look at Ethiopia and Ethiopians today. Observe what we are doing or not doing. What do you see? Did Abune Paulos die in vain?


    First off, thanks for the editor for posting the message as a REMEMBRANCE for Abuna Petros.

    1. Abuna Petros was one of the Diocesan bishops in Ethiopia, he was not a Patriarch. During his time the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) did not have her own patriarch (the first, Abuna Basilios was exalted to be a Patriarch in 1959). Till then the EOTC was led by Coptic (Egyptian) archbishops.

    2. For Eden 1. As Ethiopians we are supposed to know the story of Abuna Tekle-Haimanot of Ethiopia, the 13th C. saint. Even the Egyptians have recognized him as a saint, and built a church after his name in Alexandria. The following link of Abuna Takla’s Church in Alexandria gives you a glance of the biography of this great Ethiopian saint (

    By the way, we do not associate the word “deity” or divinity with human beings. This is solely reserved for the Triune God only. Abuna Teklehaimanot is a human-being; not a divine deity.

    I forgot to add this: Talking about Abuna Petros, the martyr, do we have now the likes of Abuna Petros? I wonder why even at least the EOTC does not have one bishop who could not condemn the crimes that have been committed against the Ethiopian people by the current oppressive WEYANE regime. Needless to say, unless this brutal regime is not removed from Ethiopia, both the country and its historical church (the EOTC) could not be freed from the pathetic bondage they are in.

  14. I forgot to mention this: Talking about Abuna Petros, the martyr, do we have now the likes of Abuna Petros? I wonder why even at least the EOTC does not have one bishop who could not condemn the crimes that have been committed against the Ethiopian people by the current oppressive WEYANE regime. Needless to say, unless this brutal regime is not removed from Ethiopia, both the country and its historical church (the EOTC) could not be freed from the pathetic bondage they are in.

  15. Tewahedo 2,

    Point I: Good contribution for precisely up dating readers on the first Patriarch. That history, I am familiar. In some circles, it is believed to be Greek Patriarchs prior to the first Ethiopian one. The word Abune by habit or misconception seems to be equated with Patriarch.

    Point II: Although the best I remember the word deity is from Greek mythology, the application in the English language has a broader translation.
    Deity = divinity, god, goddess, idol, divine being, holy being. I chose the “holy being” word for Abune Teklehaimanot. (May be as in BeTSue Abune?). I believe there are well-versed and knowledgeable people in Ethiopian Orthodox churches. In that spirit, I will try to use a different word in the future.

    Thank you so very much for the link to the history of Abune Teklehaimanot (may be the only human who lived in Ethiopia and whose life size portrait is displayed among Saints in just about all Ethiopian Tewahdo churches.)

    Lack of knowledge on his history? In fact, as I learnt more about Abune Teklehaimanot of the 1970s by asking, I was encouraged to do the same about the 13th century Abune. I agree that we need to know our religion and general history. Such occasions cannot be underestimated for the opportunity to do so. Thank you very much beyond words. I will copy the whole thing and know it.

    Your last question: In my opinion, in his own time Abune Teklehaimanot of 20th century holds that place. To Mengisu Haile Mariam,”You are not above Ethiopia’s fifty million people and its union”. “You are every authority of every department”. In addition, a contributor had added his life style, courage, determination and persistence. In tha very moment it easy to feel his spirit of being as he was very eloquent a gifted orator , an advocate, activist and a blessed attorney of the people. His kind of priest along with Abune Petros set such a high standard. To even imagine considering Aba Paulo’s and especially with the latest image of his grandiose image of a statue high lights in agreement to his critics.

  16. Dear readers; all these talk about the present pope is the usual hatred from the confused and illitrate diaspora. The only reason u are disturbed is u consider the pope as an outsidet b/s of his ethnicity.

  17. Tewahedo 2 and/or others with info:

    I just checked the website and there is much more than a brief history and I will take it step by step. His immediate image shows both feet standing.

    The one in churches shows him with one leg and the detached leg graciously standing on its own separate from him near by. Is not Abune Teklehaimanot Abo also? Abo is observed on the 5th day of the month of Ethiopian calendar as Teklehaimanot is observed on the 24th day of Eth. cal. I am somewhat puzzled.

  18. It seems my question is answered by coincidence browsing ECADF site. If I remember correctly, Abo is Abue Gebremenfeskidus. He is the one who lost his leg from prolonged standing. Strange, now I remember portrait of both Abunes from ages ago.
    Source from ECADF
    Aba Pulos: Cristo of Ethiopia?
    If erecting a statue for none other than Jesus Christ is well deserved in a poverty stricken Ethiopia, Ethiopians have

    Aba Paulos of Ethiopia
    had several saints, kings and queens who should have statues before Aba Paulos does. To name a few among several others, the Nine Monks from the East who introduced monasticism into Ethiopia, Abuna Saalama, King Ezana, Queen Sheba, King Kaleb, King Zeraycob, St. Tekelhaimanot, Abue Gebremenfeskidus, St. Arsema, St. Christos Samra, St. Lalibela etc., most whom canonized, do not have statues.

  19. Eden 1:

    Thanks for taking the time to see the link I sent.

    Regarding your last question, the saint whom we habitually call ABO is Abuna Gabre-Menfeskidus; and he is different from Abuna Teklehaimanot. That is why they are remembered on two different days – the former on the 5th and the latter on the 24th of a given Ethiopian month. Again in church icons, the former is depicted with tigers and lions (whom he is told to had dominion over) whereas Abuna Tekle-haimanto’s icons usually display his 6 wings and the detached leg as a result of long standing prayers.

    Abuna Gabre-Menfeskidus is said to be of Egyptian/Coptic origin (born of Simon and Ecclesia – though his mother’s name suggests Byzantine/Greek background). Also his Coptic background is not proved, nor is his name mentioned the Coptic Synaxarium. Anyway, his recognition in Ethiopia and our claim that he resided in Ethiopia for many years signifies the fact that Ethiopia was a fortress for various saints who fled from Asia minor (the middle East). After all, who forgets the story that Ethiopia received even the first followers of Mohammad with great sense of hospitality?

  20. Sashew…….
    sorry for not pronouncing your name correctly…….Jegnaw Ethiopiawe…
    but i have a Question what is Ur reasoning in requesting the change.if u give me an answer that will be very helpful to me.
    I suspect it sound is narrow.but I assure u it is not.. my thinking is more universal than u disrespect intended.I suppose if I need to reach others for the benefit of political corectness then be it.
    Jegnaw Ethiopiawe.

  21. Tameru I think Ur the one confused this has noting to do with Ethnicity no one has monopoly on God. the problem is about spiritual principle. ATO Gebremedhin is not spiritually fit to lead 40 million Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo.that is the issue and He is trying to monopolies Ethiopian Orthodox.

  22. In response to some of the comments and those who felt uncomfortable that the article, “The execution of Ethiopian Patriarch, Abune Petros” exalted the martyr Ethiopian Orthodox Father Abune Petros as patriarch let us see what the title “Patriarch” mean.

    Latin Patriarcha, Greek Patriarchēs,
    The ROOT-WORDS PATER & PATR, which are, the Latin words for FATHER. and the Greek word PATER (pa’ tar) for father
    The title is used for some Old Testament fathers/leaders (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons) and those who lived before the time of Moses.

    In Christian churches it is a title given to bishops of important sees.
    Historically it started in the 4th century to designate prominent Christian bishops. By the end of the 5th century, however, in the course of growing ecclesiastical centralization, it acquired a specific sense. After the Council of Niceaea in 325, the church structure was patterned on the administrative divisions of the Roman Empire; thus, each civil province was headed by a metropolitan, or Patriarch.
    He leads the local synod, speaks in the name of the synod, which is a council of bishops. He is chosen by the synod he can be removed by the synod.

    Now back to the beloved and blessed Martyr

    Patriarch Abune Petros is of a higher order than those we know as “Official or appointed Patriarchs” All of them … Basilios, Theoflose Meqarios and now Pawlos, save the Venerable and Pius Patriarch Abune Teklehaimanot, who was described by those bishops and priests who were ሆዳምና ወንበደዎች like those of አባ ጳውሎስ አባ ገሪማ አባ መላኩ (ፋኑኤል) ለሎችም inside the church as a ”peasant monk.” In deed he was a follower of Christ who was the true Shepard of the poor and the peasant.

    Patriarch Abune Petros gave his life for all Ethiopians, for our freedom. The Ethiopian people built a statue honoring his scarifies and to remind the generation to come his martyrdom. NOT the Church. Do you see the chains and machine GUN he was gunned down?

    We LOVE him as the true follower of Christ

    He is/was the true Father PATRIARCH of Ethiopian. Jesus Christ said, “There is no greater love than for a man to give his life for another.” Jesus said this about himself and those who truly followed his teaching

    The burning question is who is following his example today??

  23. Abune Petros is the my no. 1 hero in the entire Ethiopian history. Unfortunately, we were purposely set up to the current crisis we are in so as Ethiopia doesnt bore thousands of heroes like him. That scares the hell out of those we who they are. Now we are busy eating each other alive and it will continue. Yes they have to keep us that way, other wise we will not only be remembering our heroes and copy them but we will end up becoming examples to the rest of the world like we have always been. Let them divide us and keep us in poverty, we have promised them that we will help them in the process.

  24. Tewahedo:

    Once again Thank you for more info. The portrait of Abune Teklehaimant was lingering in my memory after the last post, with its complete recollection of the one in this particular church with lions and tigers beneath and around him.

    Whatever the origin of Abune Gebremenfes-Kidus, it is engrained in my being as he is Ethiopian and he is one of the rarest of portraits that seems to have some life during church services or any other time;as if he is there in life.

  25. Tazabi,

    Re: Patriarch as Abune
    Then, can be said that our Abune can be addressed as an English version of Patriarch which history came from Rome? If the Ethiopian Seynod sticks to the Ethiopian version and our “patriarchs” are addressed as Abunes (Ethiopian version) by any language, it could be adopted in the long run.

    Re: Abune Petros
    Well stated and shared.

  26. I saw the term “pope” to describe the current patriarch. This is a confusion of terms. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was a Democracy before Meles, electing the patriarch themselves. Perhaps that is why the “ignorant diaspora” is upset. But the writer doesn’t recongize that the people in Ethipoia, and those of the church are upset too. Are we all to called “dumb”? Well at least he did not claim we were blind to the truth.

    Zebene… return the cross of Abune Paulos to it’s rightful place, and perhaps through this act you can truely win the hearts of the people you would like to lead in faith. Humble yourself to God, and the people you serve like Jesus himself did before.

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