Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I and his family mingled with more than 120,000 pilgrims celebrating St.
Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I and his family mingled with more than 120,000 pilgrims celebrating St. Gabriel's Day in the eastern town of Kulubi on Tuesday (28 December). More than half of Ethiopia's people are Coptic Christians, but each year this festival draws worshipped from all faiths and nationalities. Hundreds of them made the gruelling uphill journey on foot from Dire Dawa, 40 miles (65 kilometres) away.
The feast is celebrated as a day when wishes come true, and the faithful offer gifts to St. Gabriel's church in return for the granting of dome special grace or their deliverance from pain or suffering. The original church was built by the emperor's father, Ras Makonnen.
SYNOPSIS: St. Gabriel's Church, Kulubi -- each year a gathering point for thousands of pilgrims from Ethiopia and outside. They came last Tuesday to celebrate the Feast of St. Gabriel.
A leader of the ceremonies, Mis Holin Abuna Tewoflos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Following him, Emperor Haile Selassie I whose father built the original church on his return from victorious battle and in fulfilment of a vow made to St. Gabriel.
Carrying food, clothes and bedding, some of the pilgrims made the gruelli uphill journey on foot from Dire Dawa 40 miles away.
More then half of Ethiopia's people are Coptic Christians. But Kulubi is a shrine for many other farther and creeds.
The Emperor and his son, Crown Prince Merid Azmatch Asfa Wossen were accompanied by other members of the imperial family. Of them, as with the other 120,000 pilgrims, ti was celebrated as a day when wishes come true. They brought gifts in return for the granting of some special grace, or for their deliverance from pain or suffering.
Three times the procession circles the church.
For the Emperor, it was time to take an active part in the festivities. The revelations of Kulubi are a popular topic of discussion all over Ethiopia Childless women who want a baby give special importance to a vow made to St. Gabriel. Other just come to give thanks.