Home | Profiles | Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel

Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel


Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel (born Tchela Claka, 14 July 1948) is an Ethiopian Catholic cardinal. He is the head of the Ethiopian Catholic Church since his election in 1999, Ethiopian Catholic Archbishop of Addis Abeba, and the Chancellor for The Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope Francis in 2015.


Early life and priesthood

Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel was born on 14 July 1948 in Tchela Claka, near Harar in Ethiopia. He studied at the Makanissa Major Seminary and entered in the Congregation of the Mission (popularly known as Lazarists or Vincentians). He studied Theology at King's College London and was ordained Catholic priest on 4 July 1976. He also earned a degree in sociology at the Pontifical Gregorian University.


In 1990 Berhaneyesus Souraphiel became Provincial superior of the Lazarists in Addis Abeba. In 1994 he was appointed as Prefect of the Apostolic Vicariate of Jimma-Bonga. On 7 November 1997 he was chosen as auxiliary bishop of Addis Abeba and was consecrated bishop on 25 January 1998 by Cardinal Paulos Tzadua. On 7 July 1999 he succeeded to Cardinal Paulos Tzadua as Ethiopian Catholic Archbishop of Addis Abeba.

In December 2008, he was one of a dozen Ethiopian religious figures who adopted a resolution against homosexuality, urging Ethiopian lawmakers to endorse a ban on homosexual activity in the constitution.

He was elected as the chairman of AMECEA during the 18th Plenary Assembly in Malawi in July, 2014. At the same session, Rt. Rev. Maurice Muhatia Makumba, Bishop of Nakuru (Kenya), was elected Chairman of the University Council .


On 4 January 2015, Pope Francis announced that he would make him a cardinal on 14 February. At that ceremony, he was made a Cardinal-Priest and was assigned the titular church of San Romano Martire.