Over 50,000 members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church gathered in the centre of Addis Ababa on September 26 for an open-air religious service on the eve of the feast of Maskal.
GV People gathered for open air service in Revolution Square.
CU PULL BACK TO GV Large poster in background of Lenin, Marx and Engels.
SV Abuna Tekelhimanot, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, reading from the Bible.
GV Women deacons singing religious song as Patriarch and other church officials watch and man beats drum and dances while women sing. (3 SHOTS)
CU Patriarch blesses the Damara with the golden cross. (4 SHOTS)
SV & GV Damara blazing as congregation watch. (2 SHOTS)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Over 50,000 members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church gathered in the centre of Addis Ababa on September 26 for an open-air religious service on the eve of the feast of Maskal. The service was held in Revolution Square (formerly Maskal Square) which is dominated by a large poster of Lenin, Marx and Engels. It celebrated the reputed fourth-century discovery of Christ's cross by Helena, wife of Roman Emperor Constantine the First. Rejected by her husband for political reasons, helena made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Legend has it that when she reached Jerusalem, smoke form a torch she was carrying drifted to the ground and touched the spot where the true cross was buried. Abuna Tekelhimanot, Patriarch of the Church, celebrated the feast with readings from the Bible, and women deacons sang and danced in praise of Helena's discovery. The ceremony culminated with the patriarch's blessing on the Damara, the pyre representing Helena's torch, which was then set alight to herald the start of the Maskal feast day.