The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has announced the death of its patriarch, Abune Paulos.
Paulos, whose full title was His Holiness Abune Paulos, Fifth Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Ichege of the See of St Tekle Haymanot, Archbishop of Axum, died early Thursday in Addis Ababa, aged 76.
The patriarch, who was one of the seven serving presidents of the World Council of Churches is said to have been taken ill a few weeks ago, but the cause of his death, is yet to be established.
Born in Adwa in Tigray Province of the northern part of the country, the patriarch did his education at the Theological College of the Holy Trinity in Addis Ababa under the patronage of Patriarch Abune Tewophilos.
He was sent to study at the St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in the United States and later undertook doctoral degree at Princeton Theological Seminary.
The patriarch also lived in exile in the United States.
Paulos, a renowned scholar and peace advocate, worked on the reconciliation process between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
He was one of the rare exceptionally educated patriarchs in Ethiopian history after completing various degrees, including his doctoral degree, at prestigious institutions.