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Christians and Muslims
living in peace

· A conversation with Cardinal Souraphiel, Archbishop of Addis Ababa ·

Today Ethiopia is a model of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims, who for centuries have lived next to each other, working together to fight poverty and fundamentalism which leads to tension and conflict. The newly-created cardinal, Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Ababa, spoke to our our newspaper about this reality.

Is your appointment an encouraging sign for the Catholic minority of the country?

Pope Francis is working to include the entire Church. I am grateful to him for remembering and considering the Church in Ethiopia. It is a sign of encouragement for Catholics in the country and for me personally it is an invitation for humility.

Is the Church able to take a leading role in interreligious dialogue?

Even though the Catholic Church in Ethiopia is a minority in terms of numbers, it is highly regarded by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, by other Christian denominations and by Muslims. We are the service of everyone.

What can Catholics do to stop the violence of religious fundamentalism?

Ethiopia has a solid tradition of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. Even if fundamentalists are trying to provoke division and conflict, the people of Ethiopia have neither accepted them nor followed them. This, however, does not mean that they have stopped trying to create tension and conflict. The role of Catholics is to remind society of the fruits of peaceful coexistence, especially now that Ethiopia is working to fight poverty as an enemy and to develop the country, building the necessary infrastructure.

Nicola Gori




St. Peter’s Square

Oct. 17, 2019