Addis Ababa : Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, his holiness Abune Mathias has called on all political elites, scholars and media institutions to focus on peace and reconciliation by refraining from issues that widens differences among the people.
The patriarch made the remark in his message broadcasted live during the celebration of Demera in Addis Ababa, at Meskel Square today in the presence of high government officials including President Sahilework Zewde, diplomatic community and other distinguished guests.
Noting Meskel is endowed with a spiritual secret that unites people with love and forgiveness, the Patriarch urged all political elites in Ethiopia to make the maximum efforts for dialogue and discussion to ensure a long-lasting peace and prosperity across the nation.
He called on the political elites to engage in peaceful dialogue by leaving other issues to the general public to decide and march to national development.
The patriarch further pointed out that Ethiopians are bound with their customs of togetherness, sharing, mutual respect, supporting each other and unity for centuries, stressing the need to maintain these values.
The large majority of Ethiopians are peaceful and socially interconnected with the sprite of brotherhood; the Patriarch noted and said “the behavior that we have been observing in the country these days is against the real character of Ethiopians that has been orchestrated by foreign forces who don’t want to see a prosperous and united Ethiopia.”
He has also urged the youth to abstain themselves from involving in distractive activities that lead to instability.
The Patriarch finally wished dialogue, reconciliation, and peaceful coexistence to flourish in Ethiopia and urged all Ethiopians to exert maximum efforts for their realization in the New Year by avoiding elements that might ignite quarrel and disagreements among societies.
Deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa, Adanech Abeibei on her part stated the celebration of Meskel is a symbol for Love and Unity and said “if we are able to mobilize the public with the sprite of love and unity, there will be no stone unturned.”
Hence, she called on all citizens to use the day as a source of power to get out of obstacles.
Ethiopians today celebrated the day by burning a big bonfire at Meskel Square in Addis accompanied with colorful spiritual and traditional events.
However, this year’s MESKEL was celebrated with limited events and audience unlike the previous Demera festivals due to COVID-19 precaution measures.
The finding of the True Cross (Meskel) on which Jesus Christ was crucified is celebrated among followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church every year to commemorate the discovery of the cross by Empress Helena of Rome in the fourth century.
The faithful claim that the Empress instructed the people of Jerusalem to bring wood for a bonfire, add incense and burn it to know the place where the True Cross was buried.
The bonfire’s smoke rose high into the sky and returned to the ground, showing the exact spot where the True Cross was located.
Meskel Festival was inscribed by UNESCO in 2013.
Source: Ethiopia News agency