Nova Scotia

Halifax church holds prayer service for Ethiopian Airlines crash victims

A Halifax Ethiopian church is holding a prayer service today for the 157 people who died in an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash earlier this week.

'Everybody’s been touched by this. The whole entire world has been touched'

A prayer service is being held today at the St. Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Halifax for the 157 people killed in an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash on March 10. (St. Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church website)

An Ethiopian church in Halifax is holding a public prayer service Saturday to remember the people who died in last Sunday's plane crash in Ethiopia.

"It's important for us because it's 35 different country citizens so therefore it makes it a special prayer because we do it for all 157 of them," said Father Les Zewdie, head priest at St. Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

"And the service … we will do prayer in Ethiopian tradition and then after that there's people that they want to present their own condolences."

This is a past worship service at St. Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Halifax. (St. Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Halifax website)

Two young women from Halifax, Angela Rehhorn and Danielle Moore, died in the crash. They were recent Dalhousie University graduates and past volunteers with the Canadian Sea Turtle Network, which is based in Halifax.

"We honour them, particularly the two Haligonians  … they (were) doing a great thing for our environment, for our planet earth," Zewdie said.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 plane bound for Nairobi crashed shortly after takeoff from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

Zewdie invited people from various denominations across the city to the service.

"Everybody's been touched by this," he said. "The whole entire world has been touched by this so it's important for all of us as Canadians to come and contribute our condolences."

Two men participate at a worship service at St. Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Halifax. (St. Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church website)

Upwards of 35 people regularly attend Zewdie's tiny church. No one from the church had a direct connection to the crash victims.

Still, Zewdie said, Ethiopians living in Canada took it personally.

"So, first of all, there's two people from Halifax [who have] been victims of that, and we are living in Halifax, we are touched by that." Zewdie said. "And then also 18 Canadians died there … and then the third thing is that [it was] an Ethiopian airplane that crashed in Ethiopia.

"So because of this connection, it's very, very important for us to [hold] a memorial service."

The service started at 10 a.m. at 1608 Hammonds Plains Rd. 

About the Author

Sherri Borden Colley has been a reporter for more than 20 years. Many of the stories she writes are about social justice, race and culture, human rights and the courts. To get in touch with Sherri email sherri.borden.colley@cbc.ca