Abuna

Abuna

[uh-boo-nuh]

Abun (in Europe erroneously known as Abuna , which is the status constructus form used when a name follows: Ge'ez አቡነ ’abuna/abune, 'our father'; Amh., Tgn.) is the title of the metropolitan bishop or head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. When referred to without a following name, it is Abun, and if a name follows, it becomes Abuna ... (e.g., Abuna Pawlos).

Historically the Abun of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tawahedo Church was selected by the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa, who was the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church and also had diocesian authority over Ethiopia and other parts of Africa, who would appoint one of his monks to this post. As a result, a number of years might pass between successors, and due to a lack of knowledge of the native languages the Abun had a minimal influence on both Ethiopian religion and politics.

Visitors to Ethiopia at this time, such as Francisco Álvares in the 16th century and Remedius Prutky in the 18th century, were amazed at the mass ordination of deacons and priests with little more than a wave of the cross and a prayer -- which was the Abun's principal duty.

After many centuries, the Coptic and Ethiopian Churches reached an agreement (13 July 1948) that led to the promotion of the Ethiopian church to the rank of an autocephalous Patriarchate. Five bishops were immediately consecrated by the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria, empowered to elect a new Patriarch for their church, and the successor to Abuna Qerellos IV would have the power to consecrate new bishops. The first native Christian to become patriarch was Abuna Basilios, who was consecrated 14 January 1951.

The current Abuna of Ethiopia is Abune Paulos.

Abuna (Arabic: أبونا ’abūnā, literally 'our father') is also a title used among Arabic-speaking Christians to refer to a priest. The title is used either by itself, or with the priest's given name, for example 'Abuna Tuma' for 'Father Thomas'. This title is not used in self-reference, rather the priest would refer to himself as al-Ab (الأب al-’ab, literally 'the father').

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