Victorian Village

Columbus’s Ethiopian community mourns a leader

From the Dispatch, and culled by Ethiopian Review News:

Melake Selam Sisay Ayele faced many challenges when he came to Columbus almost 20 years ago. He had a new home and was learning a new language.

Still, the Ethiopian priest’s concern was for the thousands of other refugees who also call Ohio home.

In 1992, he founded the Ethiopian Medhane-Alem Cathedral of Columbus, an Ethiopian Orthodox church in Victorian Village, and worked to make life easier for refugees.

Several services have already been held- the final service will be held tomorrow:

Ayele, who was 80, died June 29, and people are coming to Columbus from across the United States as well as Canada and Australia this week for funeral services. The final service will be Saturday at the cathedral.

It was no easy life:

Like many Ethiopian refugees, he ended up in Sudan where he started about 20 Christian churches, Asfaw said. Times were hard there, too. Food and water were sometimes scarce, and Ayele was leading a Christian congregation in a largely Islamic country.

Which explains why he had to leave there.

Columbus has a large East African community, including Ethiopians, Eritrians, and the second-largest Somali population in the US, after Minneapolis.

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