Ethiopia’s Orthodox Patriarch Buried Today….

Several thousand people have attended the funeral of the influential head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Paulos, in the capital, Addis Ababa.

After the service, many of the mourners went to view the body of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi which is lying in state at the national palace.

Abune Paulos died last Thursday and Mr Meles four days later, both of undisclosed illnesses.

Mr Meles’ funeral will take place on 2 September, the government has said.

The BBC’s Noel Mwakugu in Addis Ababa says there were emotional scenes as Ethiopians mourned the loss of two leaders.

Priests dressed in yellow flowing robes and carrying staffs massed at the Church of Saint Selassie, where the patriarch was buried.

Church choirs from across Ethiopia sang and danced next to the casket, amidst a strong security force presence around the church.

Abune Paulos, who died aged 76, had been the Orthodox Church head since 1992, following the overthrow of the Mengistu Haile Mariam regime.

About half of Ethiopia’s population is made up of Orthodox Christians.

His successor has not yet been announced.

The patriarch was a close ally of Mr Meles, who led the rebellion to overthrow the former regime.

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