Ethiopia's Christian world bids farewell to Abune Zena Markos
By Muluneh Yohannes | Updated February 22, 2010

Top religious fathers in the memorial service held on February 20 in Seattle before the body of His Holiness Abune Zena Markos was taken to his temporary resting place at Washington Memorial Park in SeaTac, Washington (Photo courtesy of Seattle Times)

Prayer Service for His Eminence Abune Zena Markos from Ethiomedia on Vimeo.

Memorial service as thousands pay tribute to His Eminence Abune Markos of Seattle (Photo: Seattle Times)
His Holiness Abune Merkorious, patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (top second from L), and other top spiritual fathers preside over the memorial service for His Eminence Abune Zena Markos, who died on February 13 here in Seattle. The weeklong service is being held at St. Gebriel Church. For more Ethiomedia photographs, click here.
SEATTLE - Hundreds of Ethiopian bishops, priests and clergymen who had come to Seattle from as far as New Zeland, Australia, South Africa and Europe in addition to the entire churches in America and Canada that were represented by their delegates attended the memorial service for His Eminence Abune Zena Markos, who died on February 13 at Swedish Medical Center. He was 72.

The presence of the thousands of the faithful and the spiritual fathers in religious costumes sent out the look of an epiphany (Timket) celebration than a memorial service. Thousands openly wept for the hugely beloved and revered Zena Markos, whose celibate monk life had spanned 50 years.

Mounted on a decorated carriage drawn by a huge white horse, the casket of His Eminence Zena Markos was escorted by five stretch limos, 32 towncars, and 10 buses to his temporary resting place at the Washington Memorial Park.

The funeral ceremony was so colorful it looked like a state funeral. One bishop said: "No Ethiopian leader, let alone a church father, has ever been accorded this much colorful memorial service."

During his lifetime, the revered father had touched the lives of so many people that thousands attended daylong memorial services for the whole week since his death on February 13.

From the church fathers who have been in anguish to the American-born children who were introduced to Amharic language lessons by Abune Zena, the entire Ethiopian community worldwide had lost a spiritual father of extraordinary stature.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church in exile has bought five hectares of land in Houston, Texas, which is being developed as an Ethiopian monastery in addition to Debre Libanos and Axum in Ethiopia, and Jerusalem in Israel.

Once building the monastery is over, the casket of His Eminence Abune Zena Markos, would be lowered into the cemetery there. (Editing by Abraha Belai)

Top church leaders arrive in Seattle

SEATTLE (Ethiomedia) - The Ethiopian faithful of the Orthodox Tewahdo Christian Church will today pay their last respects to His Eminence Abune Zena Markos, who died February 13 here in Seattle.

Since his death, top leaders and spiritual fathers of the have been arriving in the city from various places in North America, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, have been leading programs of homage.

The death of one of Ethiopia's most revered fathers is being mourned by the faithful scattered across the world, and the scene at St. Gebriel Church in Seattle has been no different.

By reading their letters or poems, many of the faithful have personally been attached to the saintly Zena Markos, at times prompting an outburst of grief whenever a spiritual father and his disciples from any city around the world arrives at the Church crying.

A reporter for Ethiomedia said the thousands of Ethiopians packing the grand hall of the church each day makes the memorial and prayer services the grandest in the history of Ethiopian Diaspora.

Poems after eulogies have been read out by the faithful students of the late Abune Zena Markos, who many honor as a servant of God who over the years imbued Ethiopians with the spirit of love, and love, and endless love among each other.

Abune Zena Markos was the key in encouraging his children in Seattle to build up St. Gebriel Church from humble beginnings to a grand church now perched on a hillside in the central district of Seattle.

His Eminence Archbishop Abune Zena Markos's Memorial Service Program

Holy Synod of EOTC Press Release | Updated February 16, 2010

His Eminence Abune Zena Markos
Inside the St. Gabriel Church in Seattle
Its inside walls emblazoned with the murals of saints, the St. Gabriel Church of Seattle is one of the largest of its kind in the Ethiopian Diaspora

Archbishop of Ethiopian church, in exile, dies at 72 in Seattle

By Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times staff reporter (February 17, 2010)

Thousands of people are expected to come to Seattle on Saturday for the funeral service of Archbishop Abune Zena Markos, one of the top leaders of the worldwide Ethiopian Orthodox Church in exile. Archbishop Markos died Saturday at age 72.

Archbishop Abune Zena Markos, who lived in Seattle for about 16 years, died Saturday at Swedish Medical Center's Cherry Hill campus. Friends say they do not know the exact cause of his death, but it appeared to be due to complications from pneumonia. He was 72.

Archbishop Markos served as assistant patriarch for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Holy Synod in Exile, and as such was its No. 2 leader worldwide and head of all its churches in the U.S. and Canada.

Locally, he was instrumental in leading the effort to build St. Gebriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the Mount Baker neighborhood. It is the city's largest Ethiopian Orthodox Church with about 2,000 attendees.

"If I had to define a holy man, it would be him," said Ezra Teshome, 58, a member of St. Gebriel.

The archbishop encouraged those of his flock who had emigrated from Ethiopia to "not leave the faith and the culture behind," Teshome said.

Archbishop Markos was born in Ethiopia and early in life committed himself to being a celibate monk, according to a news release from St. Gebriel Church. After being ordained as a priest, he served in various churches and monasteries in Ethiopia and studied theology in Greece. In 1979, he was appointed to serve as an archbishop.

He and some other church leaders left Ethiopia in the early 1990s in a dispute over legitimate church leadership.

Archbishop Markos and the top church leader at the time, Patriarch Abune Merkorios, were appointed to their positions during the years Ethiopia was under Marxist military rule, 1974 to 1991. In 1991, when the military government was overthrown, a new church patriarch was appointed, displacing Merkorios, who fled the country. In Seattle, some Ethiopian Orthodox Christians are loyal to the church still headquartered in Addis Ababa; others are loyal to the church in exile, which is headquartered in Oakland, Calif.

Estimates of the number of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians in Seattle vary greatly, ranging from 3,000 to 10,000.

Members of St. Gebriel say the humble, soft-spoken archbishop was known for his teaching and his prayers.

He taught U.S.-born children of Ethiopian immigrants how to speak Amharic and about their culture and faith.

"He was such a good person, a fair person," said Selome Teshome, 29. "People really looked up to him. He lived the words he preached."

St. Gebriel members say about 2,000 people from around the world are expected at his memorial service at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Gebriel, 940 26th Ave. S., Seattle. Remembrances also may be sent to St. Gebriel.

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or

His Eminence Archbishop Abune Zena Markos's Memorial Service Program

The Legitimate Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Holy Synod in Diaspora Led by His Holiness Abune Merkorios, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has published the following memorial service program for the late Archbishop, His Eminence Abune Zena Markos.

The memorial service will be led by His Holiness Abune Merkorios, Patriarch of EOTC.

Place : St Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Cathedral
940 26th Ave, South Seattle, WA 98144 USA

Part 1

From Monday, February 15th Thursday February 18th 2010
From: 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm in the evening
Prayer Service, Hymns by Choir and sermon (at St Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Cathedral hall)

Friday, February 19th 2010
From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm in the evening
Evening Prayer Service at St. Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Cathedral:

Holy Synod of EOTC
4127 Redwood
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 530-3681
Date February 14, 2010
No. 292/2010

Part 2 Saturday February 20, 2010

  1. 4:00am to 6:00am Matins
  2. 6:15am to 8:45am Eucharistic Liturgy
  3. 8:45am to 9:10am - hymns by Youth Choir and North American Sunday school Choir
  4. 9:15am to 9:40am Sermon

Part 3 from (10:00am 12:25pm)

  • His Eminence's Eulogy
  • Representative from the EOTC
  • Seattle's Youth group Representative
  • St. Gabriel E.O.T.C Cathedral Representative
  • Representatives from Several Churches
  • Letters of Condolences
  • Reading of Poems and Tributes.
  • Trip to His Eminence's resting place

Reception at St Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Cathedral hall.

Part 4

Sunday February 21st, 2010 starting 6:00am there will be a Eucharistic liturgy service in remembrance of His Eminence Abune Zena Markos.

Holy Synod of EOTC
4127 Redwood
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 530-3681

Information for guests arriving in Seattle for the funeral of His Eminence Abune Zena Markos

Saint Gebriel Church of Ethiopians in Seattle regretfully announces the home going of our Holly Father, His Eminence Archbishop Zena Markos, on February 13, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in perpetual peace.

Information regarding the funeral arrangement will be anounced soon. Out-of-state guests who would like to pay their last respect by coming to Seattle:

Accomodations at Best Western Executive Inn in Downtown Seattle. For reservations call 206.448.9444 (please mention Ezra Group).
Cost $69.00/night

Numerous Ethiopian families in and around the greater Seatt le area have indicated their willingness to open their homes to out of state visitors coming to att end the funeral service.

Anyone who would like stay with an Ethiopian family, instead of a hotel, please contact the following organizers:

  • Ato Gashaw Anadrega: 206.330.8761
  • Ato Dagnaw Angaw: 206.271.1138

Visitors who need transportation from Sea-Tac Airport to St. Gebriel Church please call the organizer: Ato Muluneh Yohannes: 206.604.4835

For any information regarding the funeral arrangement, please contact the organizing chairs:

  • Ato Ezra Teshome: 206.391.0326
  • Engineer Girmah Haile-Leul: 206.713.9403

For up-to-date information regarding the funeral service, please visit the Seattle Saint Gebriel official website at: - An African-American news and views website.
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