Many Princeton Seminary graduates from the 1970s and 1980s remember Abune Paulos when he was a fellow student on Princeton’s campus. He was kind, gentle, and always had a twinkle in his eye. He came to PTS as a Th.M. student when he was a priest in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and was known to his classmates and professors as Father Yohannes.
Later he was made a bishop of his church, and returned to his homeland. He was imprisoned without trial for six years when Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed in a coup. But through the efforts of Princeton Seminary President James I. McCord, whom the Abune called “my spiritual father,” he was released unexpectedly and flown to the United States to continue his Ph.D. in church history at the Seminary.
He became the patriarch in 1992 and was head of the almost half of the Ethiopian population who are Orthodox Christians. He was also serving as one of the seven presidents of the World Council of Churches when he died.
Read more about Abune Paulos and his relationship with Princeton Seminary in these articles, one a personal reflection by PTS alumna Barbara Chaapel and one a reflection on the situation in Ethiopia in the 1980 written by PTS alumnus Pashington Obeng.
A memorial service for Abune Paulos will be held on Sunday, September
9 at 4:00 p.m. at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, 630 Second Avenue
(between 34th and 35th Streets) in New York City. All are welcome to
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