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Christ Becoming King

Imperial Chronicle of the Coronation Ceremony of His Majesty Teferi Makonnen 27 Meskerem 1921 E.C. 7 October 1928 G.C.

“Great celebrations took place when His Majesty King Teferi Mekonnen was crowned [King] on Meskerem 1921 E.C. (7 October 1928 G.C.). The coronation ceremony was as follows. The roads and the house of the town [Addis Abeba] were decorated with flags and flowers. And to the east of the Palace, wher the coronation ceremony was held, a very [nicely] decorated and large tent was erected. And because electric lights wereplaced along every road, the night looked like day. And prior to the coronation [celebrations], Honourable Bejirond (Treasurer) Zelleqe had handed the crown over to Honourable Icchege Gebre-Menfes-Qeddus, and the Icchege took it to the church of Mekane-Selassie and [the clergy there] spent seven days consecrating it and praying over it. On the 7th day, at 5 a.m. on a Sunday, the Icchege went to the church together with eleven learned monks, and he [the Icchege] made the [head] priest [of the church] carry the crown; and while they were escorted by the Bejirond, they brought [the crown] and put it on a adorned table in front of the imperial crown (“the seat of David”) at the place prepared for the coronation ceremony. And close to the crown, a sword decorated with gold and diamonds was placed. From 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., all the notables of Ethiopia arrived, dressed in parade uniform (or: gala dress). And the soldiers, dressed in parade uniforms, were lined up where they were ordered. At 6:15 a.m., Her Majesty the Queen arrived and sat down on the imperial throne (“the seat of David”). And the King [Teferi], dressed in regal clothes, sat on a throne set out (“spread out”) on the right side of the imperial throne. At the same time, foreign ambassadors arrived, dressed in the

clothes of their rank, and sat at a place prepared for them at the right side of the King’s throne. At that time, Honourable Fitawrari Welede-Amanuel (or: Welde-Amanel) came at the head of the parading body-guards of His Majesty the King; and he [Welde-Aman(u)el] ordered them [the guards] to stand in straight lines on the left and the right sides [of the King and Queen]. Thereupon, the priests prayed a prayer of thanksgiving; the Gospel was read, and after this His Holiness Icchege Gebre-Menfes-Qeddus lifted up the crown and blessed it and gave it to Her Majesty. And Her Majesty the Queen received it and put it on the head of His Majesty the King. And after she had given the crown and the sword to him, she gave the following speech. “O my son! When God chose me and put me on the throne of my father, Menelik II, He also chose you to be my supporter and helper; and therefore, behold, I have given you a crown [made you a king] to honour you. And may HE help you to become the inheritor of the imperial crown in the future. And may God be with you in everything you do.” Saying so, she blessed him. And the King said, “Amen, may it be for me according to your words”, and [thus] he thanked her and sat down on his throne. After this, the curtain [behind which the coronation ritual had taken place] was drawn (opened), and all the Ethiopians notables and foreign ambassadors who were seated at that place saw that the King wore a [royal] crown. Afterwards, all the notables approached together and stood [lined up] according to their ranks, and His Excellency

Dejazmach Welde-Tsadiq, the Minister of the Interior, gave the following speech. “(O) Your Majesty our Queen! May God give you long life for giving this crown to your son, to King Teferi Mekonnen, for the honour of your country Ethiopia. May He unite you in the love of Empress and King as [He united] Abriha und Arsbisha. May He give you [both] long life, And for [you] the king, may HE bless this your crown. And may He make you reach the rank of Emperor.” When he [Welde-Tsadiq] had ended his speech, all the notables said with one voice: “May God fulfil this word for you!”, and they saluted him. And at this time the Icchege approached together with learned monks, and he gave the following speech: “O King, May God bless this your crown! You are the leader of all the people by the authority given you, and may God help you to guide the Ethiopian people in a proper way, May He give you strength to support and protect the true, Orthodox faith handed down (“remaining”) from of old, from our forefathers. May He help you to strengthen all the rite and status of the Ethiopian Church.” When he had ended his speech, the learned monks said with on voice, “May God fulfil this word for you”, and saluted him. Afterwards, His Beatitude the Icchege said the following prayer:

“O God Almighty, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Ruler of all the world, You who are on Your throne, You who watch over those who live on earth: We beg You from the heart: May You fill Empress Zewditu and Ling Teferi with the Holy Spirit in Your mercy; may they obey Your will; may they walk in Your way; always abundantly give them of (“cloth them in”) Your heavenly gifts; and keep them safe; give them strength for a long time so that they can defeat their enemies; and after this life, may You bring them to the everlasting joy and salvation. In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.” After this – after he [the Icchege] had finished saying the prayer “The Grace of the Father and the grace of the Son and the grace of the Holy Spirit be with us all” and given the absolution and benediction – many gun shots were fired [as a salute]. At this time, Ligaba Wedaje and Tsehafe-Tizaz WeldeMeqel went to the public square [main gate] together with the notables and spoke the words of the proclamation written about [elevation to] kingship. And after all this was over, His Majesty the King – wearing his crown and seated (“being”) in a [nicely] decorated carriage – went to the Trinity church to attend mass and to give thanks to God for the honour of the coronation. And Ethiopian notables and foreign ambassadors followed in cars, according to (in order of) their rank. And as they arrived at the church, mass started. And until the end of the mass, His majesty the King took off his crown and put it on a table prepared for putting (“resting”) it on.

The officials of embassies, with their wives, came to this coronation (celebration) at 9 a.m. and stayed at a place prepared for them in the Trinity church. At 9:30 a.m. the King went out of the church and sat down on a golden/gilded chair placed on the steps [in front] of the church. At that time, the heads and learned monks of the main churches were presented [to the King] by the supervisor of the clergy, Melake- Gennet Welde-Hanna, and they approached and saluted [the King] in turn. Next, the officials invited from each embassy and their wives approached in turn and gave their greetings. Afterwards, the journey to His Majesty’s house started. The procedure [i.e. sequence] of the parade and the cars [motorcade] was as follows: 1. Announcers [of the event] passed [first], blowing [trumpets]. 2. Captains selected from each branch [of the army] passed on horseback, dressed in lions manes [on their heads]. 3. Drum-beaters passed on mules, beating [their drums]. 4. Flute and trumpet players passed, playing different tunes (or: styles). 5. Cavalry machine-gunners passed in a striking parade. 6. Thos who played the King’s fanfare passed [next]. 7. The [King’s] body guards and cavalry soldiers in blue passed [next]. 8. The students of Teferi Makonnen School passed, playing the March of Teferi Makonnen.

9. Sword-carriers (pages) passed with drawn swords to the left and right of a swift carriage (“wind carriage”) and looked impressive (“majestic”). 10. His Excllency Ligaba Wedaje and Aggafari WeldeMariam [and] Qenyazmach Asrate Welde-Gabriel, wearing lion’s manes [on their heads] and carrying (their) guns, were supervising [the procession/parade]. 11. In the rear section of the King’s carriage, which was drawn by sic horses, Liqe-Mekwas Mengesha Wibe and Liqe-Mekqas Mekonnen Walte wearing the clothes of their rank, were escorting [the King] on the right and the left sides. 12. After these, Ethiopian notables and foreign diplomats passed in cars. 13. In one car [were] the Ambassador plenipotentiary of the Belgian government, His Excellency Mr. Gerard, and His Highness Ras Kasa [Hailu], the head of the Ethiopian ministers (or: First/Prime Minister). 14. In one care [were] His Excellency Mr. de Reffye, the Ambassador plenipotentiary of the French government and His Excellency Dejazmach Mulugeta, the Minister of War. 15. In one car [were] His Excellency Mr. Southard, the Ambassador of the United States of America and His Excellency Dejazmach Welde-Tsadiq, the Minister of Interior. 16. In one care [were] His Excellency Mr. Prüfer, the Chargé d’Affairs of the German government and His Excellency Blattengeta Hiruy [Welde-Sellasie], the Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 17. In one car [were] His Excellency Mr. Corrado Zoli, the Governor of Eritrea, and His Excellency Kentiba (Mayor) Nesbiu.

18. In one car [were] His Excellency Mr. Chapon Baissac, the Governor of Djibouti, and His Excellency TsehafeTizaz Weled-Mesqel, the Minister of Pen and Agriculture. 19. In one car [were] His Excellency Mr. [Sir H.B.] Kittermaster, the Governor of British Somaliland, and His Excllency Neggadras Makonnen [Habte-Weld], the mInister of Commerce. 20. In one car [were] His Excellency Mr. Dunbar, the Chargé d’Affairs of the British government, and His Excellency Bejirond (Government Treasurer) Zelleqe, the Minister of Finance. 21. In one car [were] His Excellency Mr. Porta, the Chargé d’Affairs of the Italian government, and His Excellency Tsehafe-Tiazaz Afewerq, the Minister of Post and Telephones. 22. In one car [were] His Excellency Mr.Zervos, Consul General of the Greek government, and His Excellency Afe-Negus Aregay, the Minister of Justice. 23. In one car [were] His Excellency Afe-Negus Ketema and His Excellency Dejazmach Yiggezu. 24. In one car [were] His Excellency Mr. Loeb, the Honorary Conul of the Turkish government, and His Excellency Ato Fasika. 25. In one car [were] His Excellency Dejazmach Wendyirad amd His Excellency Mettaferiya, [and] His Excellency Dejazmach Haile-Sellasie Abbayneh. 26. In one car [were] His Excellency Abba Shawl, His Excellency Shum-Tembien [i.e. the Ruler of Tembien] Gebre-Medhin, [and] His Excellency Dejazmach Hailu Kebbede.

27. And behind the cars, the remaining Ethiopian notables were following (riding) on mules, with their decorations (“as they were adorned”). 28. And behind the notables many soldiers (”guards”) were following, and close to (or:beside) the soldiers (“guards”), the interpreters of the foreign diplomats. At 11. a.m., when His Majesty the King arrived at his palace (”house”) and sat on his throne and all were together, a 51 gun salute was fired. After this, the diplomats approached the throne and took their leave. But the Ethiopian notables stayed [on] in the place arranged as (“for”) a resting-place, and [i.e. from] noon [on that day] a separate lavish banquet was held for the notables and the clergy. And for the banquet a large bower and many large tents had been erected and decorated inside and outside, and ushers invited [the guests+ and guided (or showed) them to their places according to their rank, and all the notables said, “May God give [you] long life(for our sake, or: in answer to our prayer)” to His Majesty King Teferi Makonnen and to Her Highness Menen, and they took their leave. And the programme of the banquets was as follows: Sunday [there was a banquet] for the notables and the clergy. Monday during the daytime a lavish banquet was held for the military officers and the soldiery, and at 6 o’clock in the evening a magnificent dinner was given for (the) foreign ambassadors and for Ethiopian ministers. Tuesday there was a lavish banquet for [the staff of] foreign embassies, important foreigners and [foreign] merchants living in Addis Abeba. And the foreigners invited to lunch on this day were about one thousand persons. [No banquet on Wednesday as that is a fasting day].

On Thursday 1st Tiqimt (11 October), 800 Arabs and Indians were invited for lunch. And all European governments sent congratulatory telegrams to the King for the coronation celebrations of His Majesty the King. From 27 Meskerem (7 October) to 1 st Tiqimt (11 October) about 604 telegrams came to him from Europe and Egypt. Aleqa Beshah composed the following poem about the coronation celebrations. ‘Teferi is a strong pillar [support] of religion. Today they [the people] (have) put you in the road to (“of”) the crown of the government. Humility and love reflect much wisdom. Your lion’s strength cannot hidden. And it is painted in you, the fearsome likeness of a lion and the wonderful likeness of the cherubs, and you will sleep, and when you are awake you are asleep during the time of revenge, and when love dries up, you will make it green again from year to year. But don’t forget to judge with compassion and mercy, when you pass openly from one power(ful position) to another.’ ” Excerpt from: Gabra-Egziabher Elyas “Prowess, Piety and Politics. The Chronicle of Abeto Iyasus and Empress Zewditu of Ethiopia 1908-1930”


Coronation Ceremony of His Majesty Teferi Makonnen 1928

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