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Orthodox Faith Followers Celebrate Demera

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Orthodox Church followers are celebrating the Meskel holiday which marks the finding of the cross that Jesus was crucified on.

The Maskel festival is being celebrated across the nation.

In Addis Ababa, celebration began on Sunday afternoon with the Demera bonfire with hundreds of thousands of people attending the festival at Meskel Square.

The commemoration culminated in the lighting of the bonfire by Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

The bonfire signifies the efforts made by St Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, to find the crosson in the 4th century as per the Orthodox church.

Message of unity

Abune Mathias delivered his message of peace and unity to all Ethiopians in his speech at Meskel Square.

The Patriarch said the Meskel festival is a symbolic event that brought peace, love and salvation to humanity.

Ethiopians here and abroad should strive for peace, love and unity among themselves, he added.

The celebration was marked in the presence of higher government officials, including President Sahlework Zewde and Deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa, Adanech Abiebie, as well as members of the diplomatic communities in the capital.

Deputy Mayor Adanech too spoke about the importance of unity to ensure development and protect the national sovereignty of Ethiopia.

There are external and internal forces attempting to hide the bold reality of Ethiopia, Adanech said. “However, Ethiopia’s truth will shine just like the true cross, and the nation will prevail.”

Meskel has been celebrated in Ethiopia for more than 1,600 years as an outdoor religious festival.

The festival is one of the three intangible heritages of Ethiopia inscribed by UNESCO, along with Gada System and Fiche Chambalala.

EM news/agencies