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.