The Lion of Judah
"...I, Haile Selassie First, Emperor of Ethiopia am here today to claim that Justice which is due to my people, and the assistance promised to it eight months ago,
when 50 nations asserted that aggresion had been commited in violation of international treaties.
I pray to Almighty God that He may spare nations the terrible sufferings that have just been inflicted on my people,
and of which the chiefs who accompany me here have been the horrified witnesses.
It is my duty to inform the Goverments assembled in Geneva, responsibile as they are for the lives of millions of men, women and children, of the deadly peril which theatens them, by describing to them the fate which has been suffered by Ethiopia.
.....And the Great Powers who have promised the gurantee of collective security to small States on whom weighs the threat that they may one day suffer the fate of Ethiopia, I ask what measures do you intend to take?"
(H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie I: June, 1936)
The Liberation of the Church
From the beginning the Ethiopian church was affiliated with the See of Saint Mark of Alexandria. After Abba Selama first bishop of Ethiopia, died, Egyptian bishops from Alexandria were appointed to head the Ethiopian church. This continued until the time of Emperor Haile Selassie I.
The Turkish Invasion
About 1528 – 1540 A.D Ahmed Gran led the Turks in a terrible battle against the Ethiopian Christians. Ahmed Gran, an Ethiopian citizen but Moslem, was born in Harrar to the South of Ethiopia. Assisted by all forces of Islam, he attacked the country from one end to the other and successfully opposed the Christians.
Jesuits The Offensive Mission
After the death of Ahmed Gran there was a gradual deterioration of harmony between the two types of Christians, Ethiopians and Catholics.
The Massacre – Benito Mussolini, 1933– 40
While the church was progressing, Mussolini, who had proclaimed a great colonial power in Africa along with his fellow dictator, Hitler, invaded Ethiopia. The tragedy that took place under Mussolini’s Fascist regime has left unspeakable scars upon the people and church of Ethiopia, where the Roman church made another attempt of proselytism. It was similar to the problem of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. “...Mussolini declared that for fascism empire-building, or the expansion of nations, was a manifestation of vitality and proclaimed in metaphysical vein, that the Empire in fascist doctrine was not only a territorial military, but also a spiritual and moral expression.” In keeping with his plan he laid down great damage on the people and the church.
At this particular time all Ethiopian citizens shared martyrdom regardless of the differences of religion, race, or creed. As is it common with every political corruption to divide a nation as a methods of winning or weakening it, the Italians attempted, by costly and malicious propaganda during the war to set the Muhammadans against the Christians. At first the Muhammadans themselves supported the idea. Later on a national spirit was awakened instead. Since the Italians were not only persecutors but also political and economic oppressors, the Muhammadans fought the invaders united with their Ethiopian brothers.
During the attempt on the life of General Graziani in February 1937 and on several other occasions, thousands of Ethiopians were murdered, including bishops’ priests and Moslem sheiks. The Italians concentrated on exterminating the Christian people and destroying sacred places. In particular, the Italians wanted to exterminate the clergy, who were considered the backbone of the people’s struggle against the aggressors.
The Massacre – Benito Mussolini, 1933– 40
An Ethiopian Moslem wrote an account of the wholesale massacre he witnessed of Christian Ethiopians by Christian Italians. “…I stood and thanked God that he had not made me a Christian. Yet I knew that the sin did not lie with Christ. One Sunday, I saw some white Italian soldiers enter an Ethiopian church and rang the bells, sixteen old men thought it was time for prayer; before they could enter the church the Italians killed them. I heard the words of these poor old men Egziabeher yasaywo (may God open your eyes to the truth) I could not help crying, but the Italians laughing, the dead bodies lay for two days on the steps of the church.”
This Ethiopian Muslim went on to relate, “...the first order given to the Italians armies was to kill everyone carrying the cross. I saw a man pick up a gold cross in the street, and whilst he had it in his hand an Italian soldier killed him because he thought the man was a Christian.” He further stated that he saw “...an old man sitting in his house, his Bible in one hand and a white flag in the other. Italian soldiers entered the house and demanded the old man’s money. He answered that he was poor, but offered them all he had three dollars ($3.00). They fired three bullets at him and he crumpled up dead.”
The Italians had several methods of murdering the people, some of which involved the Ethiopian people’s attachment to the church. It is customary in Ethiopia to celebrate matin at night. At this hour all church bells are rung to summon the faithful to worship. Having knowledge of this the fascists did not hesitate to satisfy their violent act. They rang the bells. Then when the people came in their thousands they found that these bells had not summoned them to worship but to the most painful death that the civilized world has ever witnessed.
Bishops and priests were killed slowly their limbs removed one at a time while their murderers watched with glee as they suffered. Clergy and civilians were victims of beheading accompanied by the smiling faces of their executioners. Two of these victims were Bishop Petros and Bishop Mikael. Bishop Petros was asked to sign an act of submission to the Italian authorities and to pronounce excommunication of the Ethiopians who would not submit to the invader, but he refused to comply. Instead he declared that the land of Ethiopia and the people should never accept the Italian aggressors.
As a result he was gunned down. Over Two thousand churches were razed to the ground and numerous transcripts were stolen.
The first community The Emperor visited after being greeted at the Piarco International Airport by Prime Minister Eric Williams, was the Borough of Arima....
King of Kings Visitation 1966
The Ethiopian church in Jerusalem was one of the first established Christian churches there. Soon after the resurrection of our Lord Eyesus Kristos, Ethiopians began streaming to the Holy Land,
Jerusalem The Holy Sepulchre
Throughout its history in Jamaica, the Church suffered greatly because it came to the Rastafarian faithful whose desire is to motivate their lives through the church.