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For the 127th birthday of Emperor Haile Selassie, Abuna Selama, the Archbishop of the Hara region had instructed the heads of the 53 churches in his archdiocese to hold special prayers and to speak about the contributions of the Emperor to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

 

Melak Sahal, chief administrator of the 53 churches, said: “The Ethiopian Orthodox Church never forgets the Emperor’s contribution to our ancient church’s glory. Today, on his birthday, we will still talk more about his astounding contributions.”

 

Melak Selam Tebebu, head of the St Trinity Church in Harar, despite his health, came out to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday and said, “It is not we who give a testimony for the Emperor’s inputs, but his colossal and exceptional works which they speak volumes to save our preaching.”

 

Jorge Mandes, who came for the occasion from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said: “People of Harar are friendly and warm like the Emperor’s approach to humanity. Out of humanity, the Emperor advocated for the survival of mankind in the international arena.” Jorge Mandes, has recently built a tabernacle, ‘Selassie House’, in his home town, Rio de Janeiro. His younger daughter, Nayana Mendes attending services at St Kidan Mehert Church in Harar, said: “My father taught me a lot about Emperor Haile Selassie’s role in the world and I grew up with great history of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and now here I am celebrating the Emperor’s birthday in Harar with my father.”

 

This morning, Melak Sebatu Bekalu, head of Ejersa Goro Churuch, said, “Hamlae 16(July 23) is an appropriate day to honor the legacies of the Emperor. One day, Ejersa Goro, a birth place of the Emperor will be an international town as the result of the Emperor’s repetition.” Priest Moges, head of Kombolcha Church, said, “Kombolcha, Harar is a depository of the Emperor’s childhood history. A high moral ground of the Emperor was groomed right here in his early learning period.”

 

SID-Ethiopia, Stand for Integrated Development Ethiopia, an NGO based in Harar sent a message to the holy synod of the Ethiopia Orthodox Church in Addis Ababa, which stated that the Emperor’s legacies qualified him to be canonized as a saint like King Lalibela, the 12th century Ethiopia’s leader.

 

It is to be noted that in 1965, the Emperor was honored by five Oriental Orthodox Churches: Egypt, Syria, India, and Armenia as a “Defender of the Faith”, similar to ‘Saint’ for his unwavering commitment being a voice of morality which is absent in today’s world leaders. Through his guidance, the Emperor helped to bring the above churches’ leaders around table for the first time after 431 A.D.

A long awaited debt of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church remained at large as he was the one who liberated it from Egyptian direct rule after 1600 long years. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church gained its full independence in 1959 with the proven diplomacy skill of the Emperor. This alone meets the criteria of recognition of sainthood. 

As an apostle, the Emperor expanded the Ethiopia Orthodox Church’s philosophy in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, St.Tomas, St. Kitts, the United Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Guyana, South Africa, Sudan, and Djibouti through his messenger, Abuna Yesehaq, posthumously called St Yesehaq by his disciples, the Jamaican Orthodox.

The Emperor inspired millions of Rastafarians throughout the world to be more Ethiopian than the Ethiopian themselves. According to study, the majority of Ethiopian youth today would prefer to be identified with their ethnicity rather than Ethiopian nationality. How can one run a country without the sense of nationality? If the western embassies in Addis Ababa offered visas, no single youth would remain in Ethiopia today. The country is like an open prison for the youth whose mind and soul abroad, but for the Rastafarian Ethiopia is remained to be a holy ground.

In conclusion, the legacies of Haile Selassie that were eclipsed for 45 years in Ethiopia have finally shined at his birthday through the shadows of the Harar region. Despite ethnic tensions over the cloud of Ethiopia, the Emperor’s legacies still shed light rather than shadow.

 

History has bestowed eight vitals upon Ethiopia since the 1930s, seven to the Emperor Haile Selassie and one to his adversaries who dragged Ethiopia first to communism and now to tribalism.

 

Happy 127th birthday!

July 23, 2019

                                                    Ejersa Goro, Harar

                                                    Mulugeta Haile

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