**Grieving worshippers, church leaders and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gathered at the Meskel Square (Addis Ababa), on Saturday, to pay tribute to late patriarch Abune Merkorios.
Ethiopia bid a last farewell to Abune Merkorios, the country's fourth Orthodox patriarch, on Saturday.
The clergyman who passed away on aged 84, was a prominent figure of the country’s recent history despite spending 27 years in exile.
Grieving worshippers, church leaders including current Ethiopian Patriarch Abune Mathias and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gathered at the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa to pay tribute to the late bishop.
"**I never thought his holiness Abune Merkorios would come back to his home country and be buried in such dignity, **Father Isaias Gebreselassie said. Today I learned that God can turn things around, this is truly a miracle."
Abune Merkorios was elected patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in the late 80’s. However, the Church split in the early 1990s after the then-ruling regime was overthrown.
Forced to exile Abune Merkorios created another branch of the church in the United States. He eventually returned in 2018 to Ethiopia after a mediation lead by PM Abyi enabled the reunification of the sister churches.
The funeral of the Late Patriarch will take place on Sunday at Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Ethiopian capital.