Abune Petros Memorial: Addis Ababa

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Last Updated on Monday, 24 September 2012 21:54 Written by Administrator Monday, 24 September 2012 21:48

 

Just West of Addis Ababa's impressive City Hall, down the hill on the main road to the Merkato district is Abune Petros Square with it's imposing statue.

Abune Petros, the Ethiopian Orthodox Bishop of Wello who was executed by the Italians at the edge of this very square. Abune Petros was one of the four first native Ethiopians who were anointed as bishops by the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria to serve under the Coptic born Archbishop Abune Kerllos of Ethiopia in 1932. Abune Petros was given the province of Wello as his diocese. In 1936, the Fascist armies of Benito Mussolini occupied much of Ethiopia, and Abune Petros traveled to the northern Shewan district of Menz to join the sons of Ras Kassa, Dejazmatches Wondwossen, Abera and Asfa Wossen Kassa and other resistance leaders to plan an attack on the Italians to drive them out of Addis Ababa. The attack failed in 1937, and the Bishop was captured. Defiantly refusing to submit to Italian rule, he was condemned to death. Shortly before his execution Abune Petros Bishop of Wello, dressed in his clerical robes, held up his hand cross and pronounced his anathema on the people and on the very earth of Ethiopia itself, if they were ever to submit to the invader. He was then shot to death in front of a horrified audience. Emperor Haile Selassie had the statue erected in the memory of this great Bishop upon his restoration to the throne. The spot of his execution on the western edge of this square is also marked by a memorial slab. Sadly, during the brutal rule of the Dergue regime, the bodies of many victims of the "Red Terror" were displayed in this square.