Emperor Haile Selassie had taken the opportunity of a visit to Ethiopia by the Head of the Coptic church to call on all Church leaders to strive to promote world peace.
Emperor Haile Selassie had taken the opportunity of a visit to Ethiopia by the Head of the Coptic church to call on all Church leaders to strive to promote world peace. The Emperor delivered this message on Wednesday (September 26), after he and His Holiness Anba Shenuda III, Pope of Alexandria and a Patriarch of the See of St Mark, had attended religious celebrations in the capital.
On Wednesday, all followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church were celebrating Damara on the eve of the Maskal religious festival -- marking the finding of the True Cross on which Christ was crucified. The Emperor and the Pope of Alexandria watched a large procession through Maskal Square.
SYNOPSIS: The traditional Damara stands in a square in Addis Ababa -- centerpiece of one of the chief festivals in the Ethiopian religious calendar. The Damara celebrations -- climaxed by the burning of the symbolic stake -- come on the eve of the Maskal Festival, commemorating the finding of the True Cross on which Christ was crucified. Here in the Ethiopian capital, Wednesday's ceremonies were to be attended by Emperor Haile Selassie and by the Head of the Coptic Church His Holiness Anba Shenuda the Third, the Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Holy See of St Mark.
His Holiness, here inspecting the Damara, had just arrived on a four-day official visit. Emperor Haile Selassie had taken the opportunity of his visit to declare that the Alexandrian Coptic Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church should continue to work closely together so that their unity would be an example to other denominations throughout the world.
The Emperor was to stress this theme of the quest for unity when he later played host to the Head of the Coptic Church at a Palace banquet. He called on Church leaders to unite their efforts in striving for world peace. Referring to international discord and misunderstanding in world politics, the Emperor called on the Churches to build a better world on the foundation of peace, love and brotherhood.
The Emperor's words were given added impact in Ethiopia by coming at a time of a great religious festival. Following an open-air service, Wednesday's celebrations ended with the burning of the Damara while Ethiopian aircraft flew overhead in a cross formation.