Home Christian News Eritrean Orthodox Patriarch Dies After 16 Years in Detention

Eritrean Orthodox Patriarch Dies After 16 Years in Detention

According to Kuria, the problem in Eritrea is that the government clamps down on any alternative voices — even the very mild and conservative — in a desire to be the only source of authority.

Antonios was arrested after he became critical of government excesses and resisted continued interference in Orthodox Church affairs by officials.

While in detention, Antonios had been denied the right to church services and was not allowed any visitors, including his followers, clergy or relatives. He was not given a chance to challenge his detention in a court of law.

“Despite 16 years of unremitting pressure, mistreatment, and defamation, the patriarch never compromised, even when it would have led to his reinstatement. He chose instead to protect the integrity and doctrine of the church with which he had been entrusted at the cost of freedom and comfort in his twilight years,” said Mervyn Thomas, the founder and president of Christian Solidarity Worldwide in a statement on Feb.10.

Thomas urged the international community to honor the patriarch’s courageous stand for freedom of religion by galvanizing efforts to secure the release of three Orthodox priests for whom Antonios advocated as well as thousands of others detained on account of conscience, religion and belief.

This article originally appeared on ReligionNews.com.