Family and friends are asking the worldwide Christian community to pray for Abune Antonios, the deposed patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church who has been under house arrest since 2007. On Monday, February 27, Antonios, a diabetic in his eighties, collapsed in the small house where he is being kept. Reliable sources told Open Doors yesterday that he was rushed to Orota Hospital in Asmara under tight security. He has since been returned to the compound, but remains in critical condition and local Christians fear for his life. However it is understood that although he was denied medical attention in the past, he has been receiving some care since he was moved from the hospital.
The government of Eritrea deposed Antonios as patriarch in early 2006, replacing him with Abune Dioskoros in May 2007. Antonios was then placed under house arrest. Within the church structure patriarchs of the Eritrean Orthodox Church receive a lifelong appointment from the Patriarch of the Egyptian Orthodox Church. For this reason, many Eritrean Orthodox Church members do not recognize the government’s appointment of Dioskoros.
We lift Abune Antonios before Your throne, Father, calling on You to grant him peace during this difficult time. Thank You for Your overruling in his situation so that the government is providing medical care. We pray for that care to continue and that he would not suffer pain. Heal Him, Father. We pray for believers in Eritrea that they would live in the power and hope of Christ. In the name of Jesus, the great Healer, Amen.