The Biography of Empress Menen Asfaw
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excerpts from the book...
The Biography of Empress Menen Asfaw
The Mother of the Ethiopian Nation
by Anjahli Parnell ~ Roots Publishing
 
To honor the coronation of Emperor Haile Sellassie I and Empress Menen of November 2,
1930, the following excerpt from the book:

The Biography of Empress Menen Asfaw: The Mother of the Ethiopian Nation is offered
below.

The Coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie & Empress Menen

The preparations for the coronation ceremony of Emperor Haile Sellassie I and Empress Menen
Asfaw were quite elaborate. According to the National Geographic Magazine of June 1931,
several streets in the capital were asphalted for the occasion, electric lights were installed, and
eucalyptus fences were constructed to hide round “tukul” huts. Arches were erected along the
route that the Emperor and Empress were to take, and flags and bunting were strung up for the
celebration.

The police and Imperial Bodyguard were transformed with new khaki uniforms.  A triangular
coronation monument was erected to commemorate Emperor Haile Sellassie I, whose name
translated means Power of the Trinity.

The upcoming grand coronation would have provided an opportunity for many relatives of
both Menen and Tafari to journey to Addis Ababa. This would have been a busy time for the
imminent Empress, as she ensured that her visitors were comfortably accommodated. There
were several photographs of the immediate and extended family taken at this time by
Armenian court photographers, Haigaz and Tony Boyadjians.

To provide seating for 700 guests, a large auditorium was constructed on the western side of
St. George’s Church. Inside, two thrones were placed one third of the way into the hall and
some distance apart. His Majesty’s throne was decorated in red and gold, while Her Majesty’s
was decorated in blue and gold.  For seven days and nights prior to the coronation ceremony,
forty-nine bishops and priests in groups of seven chanted the nine Psalms of David at seven
stations around St. George‘s Church.

On Tikimt 22, 1923 (November 1, 1930), the day before his coronation, Ras Tafari, in a lengthy
speech, paid tribute to the deceased Emperor Menelik II. In the circle in front of St. George’s
Church, the visiting Duke of Gloucester of Britain unveiled a gilded statue of Emperor Menelik II
riding a horse. On that same day, at midnight, the future Emperor, Empress, family members
and nobles attended a church service at St. George‘s for devotional prayer. On the following
morning, Tikimt 23, 1923 (November 2, 1930), at 7:00 AM the foreign guests arrived, many
accompanied by Ethiopian nobility, and were seated in the church.

Coronation of Emperor Haile Sellassie I

At 7:30 AM on Tikimt 23, 1923 (November 2, 1930), Their Majesties, dressed in white silken
communion robes, emerged from the church behind the incense bearers. Once the Emperor
was seated on his throne in the temporary auditorium, the silence was broken by His Holiness
Abuna Kyrilos, who proclaimed,

“Ye princes and ministers, ye nobles and chiefs of the army, ye professors and priests, ye people of
Ethiopia, look ye upon our Emperor Haile Sellassie the First, descended from the dynasty of Menelik
the First, who was born of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, a dynasty perpetuated without
interruption from that time to King Sahle Sellassie and to our time.”

The Emperor then gave his sacred vow to uphold the Orthodox religion, to uphold and
administer the laws of the land for the betterment of the Ethiopian people, to maintain the
integrity of Ethiopia, and to found schools for developing the spiritual and material welfare of
his subjects. In a ceremony lasting five hours, Emperor Haile Sellassie I was covered in gold-
embroidered scarlet vestments, and was then presented with a gold sword studded with
precious stones and an imperial scepter made of gold and ivory.  In addition, a golden globe of
the world, a diamond-encrusted ring, and two traditional lances filigreed in gold were
bestowed upon His Majesty. With each of these presentations, an anointment of sacred oil was
made to the imperial head, brow, and shoulders. The magnificent crown, made of gold and
encrusted with diamonds and emeralds, was then placed upon his head and Abuna Kyrilos
proclaimed,

“That God may make this crown a crown of sanctity and glory. That by the grace and the blessing,
which we have given you, may you have an unshaken faith and a pure heart, in order that you may
inherit the crown eternal. So be it.”

The new Emperor’s fourteen-year-old son Asfa Wossen then bowed down before his father,
pledging his support, as he became the Crown Prince. The Emperor’s second son, six-year-old
Prince Mekonnen then paid his respects to his father. The national anthem was played while
101 cannons roared and thousands of loyal subjects surrounding the church cheered in
admiration.

Coronation of Empress Menen

After the ceremony for the Emperor, the Empress entered with her attendants to take her
throne. Perhaps her attendants were her daughters, seventeen-year-old Tenagne Work and
thirteen-year-old Zenebework. The following reading from the Psalms of David (Psalms 45:9-
11) was made as a prayer.

“Kings’ daughters were among thy honorable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in
gold of Ophir. Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own
people, and thy father’s house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and
worship thou him.”

The Empress was presented with a ring encrusted with diamonds, and then the red and gold
coronation robes were placed upon her. The new Emperor received the Empress’s crown from
the Archbishop and spoke the following words about his Empress,

“As I, with the will of God, have received this crown from your Holiness, I request the Empress to
receive this crown and partake in the honor with me.  Therefore, I request your Holiness to put the
crown on Empress Menen.”

Abuna Kyrilos took the crown from the Emperor and placed it on the Empress’s head as he
made a prayer that the crown be one of knowledge and wisdom, sympathy and goodness. In
accordance with this prayer, Empress Menen used her crown to serve the people and to help
the poor. After receiving her crown, the Empress went to bow before the Emperor and returned
to sit on her throne.

Again the anthem was played, the cannons roared and the multitude of women outside the
church ululated in appreciation for Empress Menen.

The newly crowned Emperor and Empress then took a grand tour around the inside of St.
George’s Church, escorted by bishops and priests, their children, high dignitaries, assistants
and others all carrying palm branches and chanting, “Blessed be the King of Israel.”  After this,
Their Majesties removed their crowns and royal vestments to attend mass inside St. George’s
Church in their traditional white silken clothing. Later they donned their regal robes and
crowns once more in order to present themselves to the waiting multitude outside before
entering a coach drawn by six bay horses, which conveyed them to the Imperial Palace for a
state dinner.

On that day, silver medallions bearing the likeness of the new Emperor and Empress were
presented to their honorary guests.  In attendance were the Duke of Gloucester as envoy of the
King of England, the Prince of Udine representing Italy, Marshal Franchet d’Esperey of France,
and emissaries from Belgium, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden,
Turkey and the United States. European nobles and ministers present on the occasion
expressed their appreciation for the loveliness of Empress Menen. It is interesting to note that
the thirty-nine-year-old Empress was more than five months pregnant with her last son when
the lengthy coronation events took place.
Source:  Original source: www.rastaites.com/HIM/EMbioCoronation.pdf.  Retrieved
2015-10-06 and made date change in the heading and some minor formatting changes.
The Biography of Empress Menen Asfaw: The Mother of the Ethiopian Nation
25% discount Nov 2 - 9, 2012
To order: Goto:  
http://www.bookmasters.com/express/20049.htm
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Contact: Anjahli Parnell - Roots Publishing