For Immediate Release
ICFC Press Release
Monday, December 21, 2009
ICFC has just learned that after eight years of silence, the publication of Finote Berhan (The Way of Light), the one and only official mouthpiece of the Eritrean Orthodox Church (EOC), will resume as of December 2009. This dramatic development is the result of a five-months long deliberations and planning by the Archdiocese of the Eritrean Orthodox Church of North America.
When the government of Eritrea closed down all private media and arrested most independent journalists in September 2001, one of the casualties of this crackdown was Finote Berhan, one of the oldest publications in the country. It was shut down as it was undertaking preparations to celebrate its golden jubilee. Unfortunately, after 50 years of uninterrupted ministry as the voice and conscience of the EOC, the curtain was brought down on it. Finote Berhan was no more.
The periodical had kept its light flickering through the federation period in the 1950s. The era of Ethiopian rule that followed did not dim it. What is more, even during the anti-Christian, 17-year rule of communism under Mengistu Haile Mariam, Finote Berhan kept its witness faithfully. The closure of the publication was, therefore, especially painful for Orthodox Christians. No one had thought that Eritrea’s independence would bring the church the bitterest fruit which resulted, among many other things, in the
silencing of Finote Berhan.
According to sources, the Archdiocese has placed the resuscitation of Finote Berhan as one of its highest priorities. This bold act, said one source, symbolizes the living witness and mission of the church. It may temporarily be hampered and face periodic setbacks but that it will always prevail.
ICFC has further learned that Finote Berhan’s former editor, the tireless Mr. Teklemariam Merkhazion, is to serve as the new chief editor. As most might remember, Mr. Merkhazion is an “alumni” of Eritrea’s prisons for his faith. The editorial board is composed of some of the most highly educated priests, deacons and lay leaders within and outside of the Archdiocese.
ICFC Communications Director