The Church that Suffers Silently

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The Eritrean Orthodox Church; the Church that Suffers Silently

ICFC Persecution Alert

February 28, 2011

No. 10004


    Reports from inside the Eritrean Orthodox Church (EOC) in Asmara reveal the alarming degree to which the country’s oldest institution has been subjected to in one of the world’s most repressive countries. The relentless persecution on religion in general, which has been underway in the reclusive nation in northeast Africa for nearly a decade now, is reaching a critical point for the EOC.

    According to a report posted on, a website of the EOC’s North America Archdiocese the regime’s campaign to destroy the only remaining institution that has presence and define life in every Christian village and beyond has reached a dangerous point. The report, citing reliable sources from within the office of Mr. Yoftahe Dimetros – the regime’s point man who has presided over the systematic dismantling of the Church from the beginning of the campaign – has sent a shock wave throughout the Orthodox community abroad.

     In the five years alone, since the forcible removal and imprisonment of His Holiness Abune Antonios, the Patriarch of the EOC, the report reveals that 1700 clergy of all ranks have been forced out of the church in one form or another. Twenty-three known clergymen remain imprisoned in undisclosed location, some since November 2004. These represent some of the most highly educated segment of the clergy. Fourteen other priests are banned from setting foot inside the compound of any church.  There are seven priests who are restricted from leaving the city of Asmara. The report further states that the overwhelming majority of the 1700 clergy are forced to flee the country because of the relentless persecution against them and the church. Those who have fled include 49 workers from inside the offices of the Patriarchate and the various Dioceses, 32 monks from various monasteries and 5 nuns.

     The total number of the clergy who have been put out of commission through imprisonment, proscription, exile and forcible conscription into the army has reached 3050. In a country with a population of only 4 million, it is not hard to imagine the utter devastation the church has already suffered.


For this article, please go to

ICFC thanks you in advance for disseminating this article.

D. Amine,

ICFC Communications Director


ICFC is the website of SACS, a human rights and charitable organization dedicated to advocating religious freedom in Eritrea. For more information on religious persecution in Eritrea, visit:

(Voice of the Persecuted Church in Eritrea).