Yonas Tadesse/AFP/Getty Images
Tue 20 Feb 2018 09.00 GMT
The Addis Ababa massacre or Graziani massacre, in which 20,000 to 30,000 Ethiopians were killed by Italian occupying forces on 19 February 1937, is commemorated at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Ethiopian capital
Two Ethiopian war veterans sporting military regalia walk down a path during a memorial service in Addis Ababa commemorating the massacre
Ethiopian war veterans sporting military regalia attend the memorial service
Ethiopian war veterans and priests at the memorial service at the Kidist Selassie, or Holy Trinity Cathedral, a cathedral of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church
An Ethiopian war veteran walks to the memorial service for the civilians massacred in reprisal for an attempt to assassinate Rodolfo Graziani, the colonial governor of Italian East Africa
A priest blesses war veterans
Marshal Rodolfo Graziani was one of Benito Mussolini’s commanders in the Italian colonial wars in Libya and Ethiopia before and during the second world war. He ordered the three-day massacre after an attempt on his life
On November 2, 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen the descendent of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia. At his Coronation he took the name Haile Selassie I, meaning “Might of the Trinity.”
He was also known as the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God, Light of this World and was the 225th restorer of the Solomonic Dynasty.
The Coronation, which was held at St Georges Cathedral in Addis Ababa, was attended by hundreds of foreign dignitaries from France, USA, Japan, England and Germany to name a few countries; Ethiopian nobles, the clergy and Ethiopian citizens to gather to witness the anointing and crowning of Haile Selassie I and his wife Empress Menen.
The event was also covered by the world’s press.
“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh, a name writing, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS”
“Meskel” in Ge’ez translated means “cross”, Meskel is an annual religious holiday in the Ethiopian Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox churches, which commemorates the discovery of the True Cross by the Roman Empress Helena (Saint Helena) in the fourth century. Meskel occurs on the 17 Meskerem in the Ethiopian calendars (September 27, Gregorian calendar, or on 28 September in leap years).
Empress Helena was the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, and was born at Drepanum (Heliopolis) to parents of humble means. She married Constantius Chlorus, and their son Constantine was born in 274. Constantius divorced her in 294 to further his political ambitions by marrying a woman of noble rank. After he became emperor, Constantine showed his mother great honor and respect, granting her the imperial title “Augusta.”
After Emperor Constantine became the sole ruler of the Western Roman Empire, he issued the Edict of Milan in 313 which guaranteed religious tolerance for Christians. Empress Helena, who was a Christian, may have influenced him in this decision. In 323, when he became the sole ruler of the entire Roman Empire, he extended the provisions of the Edict of Milan to the Eastern half of the Empire. After three hundred years of persecution, Christians could finally practice their faith without fear.