Ethiopian Bishop brings message to WNY

Nov 13, 2013

Archbishop Berhaneyesus Souraphiel addressed a gathering at Niagara University Tuesday.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

For the Catholic archbishop of the East African country of Ethiopia education is the future, a future of students of many different religions educated together.

Archbishop Berhaneyesus Souraphiel  is head of the relatively small Catholic church in Ethiopia as well as Metropolitan archbishop of the capitol Addis Ababa and chancellor of the Catholic University of Saint Thomas Aquinas. 

The archbishop appeared at Niagara University Tuesday evening to receive the president's medal is that he's also a Vincentian priest and that's the order which runs Niagara.

Archbishop Souraphiel said his country has religious freedom but not everyone in the Horn of Africa does.

"If you speak to me mentioning for example Somalia it would be. But in Ethiopia itself at the moment it is not because we have a good Constitution which gives equality for all religions and in the Constitution it is stated that the state and church or religion are separate."

Around one-third of Ethiopia's population is Muslim and the rest is Christian but families from all segments of the population send their children to the three Catholic universities where they all study in English.

Archbishop Souraphiel said his country will be better if everyone knows each other and they can work on good governance and economic development which he says is needed in all of East Africa.