Ethiopian church leader says heritage



Ethiopian church leader says heritage

under threat


CNN- March 26, 2000, Web posted at: 9:56 AM EST (1456 GMT)


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Reuters) -- An Ethiopian church leader on Sunday called for help to stop the country's valuable relics from being stolen or destroyed.


Opening an exhibition of relics of Ethiopia's Orthodox church, including icons and ancient manuscripts, Patriarch Abune Paulos appealed to all Ethiopians to guard and preserve "these valuable and shining relics.


"Some of these priceless ancient relics are being illegally taken out of the country, while others are being destroyed because of limited knowledge about them," he said.


He called on all Ethiopians to "stand guard to protect these valuable articles from disappearing."


Ethiopian authorities last year paid $25,000 to a Belgian art collector for the return of an ancient gold-plated cross which was stolen in 1997 from a 13th century church in Lalibela in northern Ethiopia.


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