OCP News Service – Edited by Archdeacon Tesfa Michael Willaims – 8/3/19
USA: Deacon Solomon Kibriye – Chief Editor of Ethiopian Affairs at the Editorial Board of Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE (Pan-Orthodox Christian Society) was decorated with the prestigious Order of Commander of the Star of Ethiopia by the Crown Council of Ethiopia and the International Society for the Imperial Ethiopian Orders. The award was presented by Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie Haile Selassie (a grandson of the late Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia).
Solomon is the second OCP delegate to be decorated with an award within the last four months. In December 2018, Anca Constenco Sirbu – Delegate of Bucharest and All Romania of the Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE (Pan-Orthodox Christian Society) was honored with the Great Union Centennial Medal by His Beatitude Daniel – Patriarch of Romania.
The OCP family wholeheartedly congratulate Deacon Solomon for the marvelous achievement.
News In Detail.
On March 2nd, 2019, the Crown Council of Ethiopia and the International Society for the Imperial Ethiopian Orders held the Annual Victory of Adwa Dinner at the Army and Navy Club in Washington D.C. This dinner commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of Adwa, in which Ethiopia, under the leadership of Emperor Menelik II, dealt a resounding victory over the forces of the Kingdom of Italy in 1896. This victory of Africa’s last surviving pre-colonial Empire, over the largest European army ever assembled in Africa until that time, was a seminal moment in the history of the continent and lit the spark that would grow into the independence movements that would lead to the emergence of independent African countries from European colonial rule. This annual dinner not only marks this important Ethiopian national holiday but is also the occasion in which the Crown Council holds its annual investiture and hands out Imperial Orders and Medals to those whom it wishes to honor.
The President of the Ethiopian Crown Council, H.I.H. Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie Haile Selassie (a grandson of the late Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia) and his wife H.I.H. Princess Saba Kebede, Prince Christian Ermias and Prince Rufael Ermias (the twin sons of the Crown Council President) hosted the event. Among the many distinguished guests was the Deputy Ambassador of Ethiopia, Berhane Kidane Mariam, Lieutenant General Clarence McKnight, the former Director of Command, Control, and Communications, for the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, broadcaster John Batchelor and his producer Lee Mason, and numerous other prominent guests, some of whom had traveled to Washington D.C. from around the United States, Ethiopia, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Jamaica and Singapore. Also in attendance were members of the Moa Anbessa (Conquering Lion) Institute, and the Ethiopian Constitutional Monarchy Movement, which supports the Crown Council in its mission.
Conducted by the Master of Ceremonies “Agafari” Pamela von Gruber, the evening began with a welcoming address by H.I.H. Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, followed by a benediction by the Rev. Memher Abunu Mamo, the Megabe (Chaplain) of the Crown Council and the Ethiopian Imperial Orders. The assembled guests also heard a message of support from H.R.H. Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.
During the course of the evening, Order and Medals of the Ethiopian Crown were awarded. The first honor handed out was a special “Negarit” (Proclamation) to Professor Gizachew Tiruneh, confirming posthumously, the title of Dejazmatch on his late father, Tirnuneh Sahlu. Professor Gizachew himself received the Order of the Star of Ethiopia at last year’s ceremonies. The following Orders and Medals were also awarded:
• The Royal Medal of the Lion (RML) to George Bougias, (Grand Officer of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia)
• Chevalier of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia (MSE) to Megabea Memhir Abunu Mammo (Priest-Chaplain of the Crown Council and of the Imperial Guard Regiment)
• Commander of the Star of Ethiopia (CSE) to Lij Tedla Melaku
• Commander of the Star of Ethiopia (CSE) to Nebyat Demissie
• Commander of the Star of Ethiopia (CSE) to Martha Ketsela
• Commander of the Star of Ethiopia (CSE) to Deacon Solomon Kibriye
• Officer of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia (OSE) to Angelo Barzis (Royal Medal of the Lion)
• Officer of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia (OSE) to Jelica Bougias (Royal Medal of the Lion)
• Officer of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia (OSE) to Lee Mason (Victory of Adwa Centenary Medal)
• The victory of Adwa Centenary Medal to His Excellency Lij Doctor Michael Wossen
• The victory of Adwa Centenary Medal to Her Excellency Woizero Konjit Yilma
• The victory of Adwa Centenary Medal to John Batchelor (Broadcaster)
• The victory of Adwa Centenary Medal to Lij Anania Abebe (GOSE, Aide-de-Camp to the Crown)
• The victory of Adwa Centenary Medal to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Ruffolo (CSE)
• The victory of Adwa Centenary Medal to Taylor Reed Branson (RML)
• The victory of Adwa Centenary Medal to Quinn Marschik (Founding Fellow of the International Strategic Studies Association’s Zahedi Center for the Study of Monarchy, Traditional Governance, and Sovereignty)
• The victory of Adwa Centenary Medal to Yoseph Wondimu (Photographer)
• The victory of Adwa Centenary Medal to Phyllis Gruber
Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie addressed the dinner and spoke of the momentous changes Ethiopia has witnessed since the last Adwa dinner. He said, “Those of you who have stood by the Crown in more than four decades of our exile, our struggle, our loneliness, often our doubt, and always our economic hardship; must be overwhelmed today, as I am, that our faith – your faith – have seen our land and our future appear to us as the Promised Land must have appeared to Moses. Indeed, the promised lands, which Moses saw, and the promised future, which we see today in Ethiopia, are as one. Thank you for keeping the faith, and we thank God that we have lived to see the promise of dignity restored to the Ethiopian People. He recalled that a year ago he had said, “We felt the first glimmerings of hope that we could see a future for the Solomonic Crown. I told you that we knew that we could, acting carefully and non-politically, help to unify and save not only Ethiopia and Ethiopians but also preserve the vital bloodline which is living tribute to the entire rise of Judeo-Christian heritage and Western civilization.” He reiterated that the Crown and the Government of Ethiopia had separate but complementary functions and duties, and that was what his grandfather, the late Emperor, sought as he moved towards a Constitutional monarchy and that the Crown’s duty, above all, is to unite Ethiopians, not to foster old divisions; to give them identity and hope and to add prestige to Ethiopia and Ethiopians.
The dinner was also addressed by Major General Gregory Copley who outlined the many developments in Ethiopia since the last Victory of Adwa dinner. Most notably, he spoke of the 11 months since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmen took office, and how in that time the new reforming Prime Minister had to contend with at least three assassination attempts, and with an armed revolt by some segments of the previous regime, and with a looted treasury. He noted how the Prime Minister, born to a Muslim father and an Orthodox Christian mother, and himself becoming a Protestant, nonetheless was the prime catalyst that helped end the schism of the Holy Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and brought back from exile Patriarch Abune Merkorios to Addis Ababa and reunited the Holy Synod. He ended the bitter dispute with Eritrea and began to resolve differences with all neighboring states, including Egypt’s concerns over the use of the waters of the Blue Nile. General Copley noted that the Prime Minister met with Prince Ermias during his visit to the United States in July 2018, as did the Sultan of the Afars, the premier Muslim traditional leader of Ethiopia, who reaffirmed the Afar allegiance to the Crown. General Copley also stated that Prince Ermias followed his first meeting with the Prime Minister in July 2018 with another meeting during his visit to Addis Ababa at the Menelik Palace. He also made note of the most recent visit of Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie to Ethiopia in early February and his attendance with members of the Imperial Family at the unveiling of a statue of Emperor Haile Selassie at the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa. He noted that Rear Admiral Tassew Desta (Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Holy Trinity) has been invited by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to form a commission to work on the re-establishment of the Ethiopian Navy. He also announced that the Crown Council has proposed the creation of a new Ethiopian Geographical Society, to which Prince Ermias has committed to giving his patronage and support by creating it as the Royal Ethiopian Geographical Society. The Society will be comparable with similar institutions around the world and would serve to chart the scientific, cultural, historical and linguistic heritage of Ethiopia, and bring together Ethiopian scholars and their supporters. The initial meeting will begin the process under the Society’s Foundation Committee’s Chairperson, Dr. Wolde Tadesse, who was honored last year as an Officer of the Order of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia, and joined by John Geiger, GCSE, the Chief Executive of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and will be assisted by the International Strategic Studies Association.
The dinner was also addressed by Professor Gizachew Tiruneh, a prominent academician and writer on Ethiopian topics. He spoke about his father, Dejazmatch Tiruneh Sahlu, whose title had been posthumously confirmed by a special negarit on this occasion. Professor Gizachew spoke of his father’s service during the five years of the Fascist Italian occupation as a member of the resistance forces in Gojjam province, led by Dejazmatch Belay Zelleke, and his many years of service as a regional administrator in the years after the liberation in 1941. Professor Gizachew, who himself received the Order of the Star of Honor of Ethiopia last year, expressed his gratitude at the special recognition and honor rendered to his father by the Crown Council.
The guests also heard from Lij Tedla Melaku, Spokesman of the Moa Anbessa Institute. The name of the Institute comes from “Moa Anbesse ze Imnegede Yehuda” (the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah) which is the ancient symbol of Ethiopia’s monarchy. Lij Tedla, who is a noted and prolific young writer on historical, religious, and political topics, outlined the mission of the Institute, which has been established to revive the culture of Ethiopia’s Solomonic Crown, on an institutional level, and to create a space of national unity by way of historical reverence and commonality. Lij Tedla spoke rousingly of the glories of Ethiopia’s great monarchial history from ancient times, of the great Solomonic and Zagwe dynasties, and the glorious monarchs who reigned in greatness and piety. Lij Tedla said “Ethiopia’s Crown has been, for thousands of years, the unifying factor and common ground of our multicultural people. With the abrogation of the culture of the Crown, Ethiopia lost for a time its center of cultural cohabitation rendering the various cultures enclosed within themselves. We believe that an Institute bearing the name of the values of Ethiopia’s Crown and teaching the fundamental pillars of Ethiopia’s history can rebuild the bridges of social equality and national pride. We truly believe that Ethiopia has a lot to offer to the world,and that its history and provision, if properly told and demonstrated, have the potential to fascinate and bring the world together let alone the Ethiopian people, as the cradle of mankind.” He hereby announced the launch of the institute, and invited all to join it in furthering its mission. The event heralds a more prominent and visible role being taken on by the institutions of Ethiopia’s ancient monarchy and a greater role for faith, tradition, and history in its society.
OCP News Service