Born in 1938, he has been ordained bishop in 1975 by Patriarch Teofilo. He has been arrested by the Ethiopian authorities, since his episcopal ordination had happened without the approval of the government.
In 1983, after 8 years of imprisonment he was freed, and he went to live as a refugee in the United States. In 1992, the Saint Synod has chosen him to be the fifth Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia.
In October 1994 he has presided at Addis Abeba the reopening of the Ethiopian Theological College of Trinity.
He has contributed remarkably to the peace and the stability of the Horn of Africa, by organising meetings for peace between all the Eritrean and Ethiopian religious authorities.
For his efforts for peace and for his humanitarian work he has received the medal of Nansen from the high commissioner for refugees (UNCHR).
He has participated to many editions of the International Meeting for Peace organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio, the first time was in Assisi in 1994.