Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

Indro Montanelli – Italian Journalist and Fascist Soldier – 1982

Interview with Enzo Biagi, taken from “1935 e dintorni”, E.Biagi, Mondadori 1982.

I feel a great admiration for the negus, a real man without doubts, and the abyssinians were very lovable people, they had never been our enemies, even during the conflict, everywhere we were welcomed with feasts“. (…)

I remember Haile Selassie as a man full of dignity, I knew him when I returned there: suspicious, smart, very shrewd, surely a head fitting for his country, that never accepted our offers. As you know, we wanted to give him a huge appanage, to make him king of Rhodes or one island in the Aegean Sea, that was surely easier than going to London in exile, poor, for he didn’t own exported money. Instead, he was able to keep his rank, his style, and above all he had this high merit: once returned in Addis Abeba, he started to protect the Italian people, he never felt any rancour.


Haile Selassie I - Teachings

Letter of Application for Membership to the League of Nations – 1923

“In the name of the Queen of the Kings of Ethiopia, whose seal is represented above, we have the honour to present our application for membership, and to confirm the terms of the telegram we have sent concerning this subject.

Considering that the great war raised in Europe has ended, since long time the ethiopian government wants to be listed among the States that are members of the League of Nations, whose Pact grants unity, mutual aid and peace of all the nations of the world.

As the holy books testify, since the year 1500 since Salomon, we fight against the pagans that sorround us – as the map of our country helps to recognize – for the faith in God, the observance of his laws, the safeguard of the independence of our country and our religion. The God of our faith has helped us, and we have been able to baptize thousands of pagans, that have become our brothers, and we only had rest at the time of our emperor Menelik II.

Among these facts, seeing that the heir to the throne, Lij Iyasu, was tending towards the religion against which, with much strain, we have fought, and was taking a way that could create problems with the neighbouring governments, we stopped along the way of progress, taking care of putting things back in order.

In spite of that, during this small time of rest we have attained, looking for ties of friendship, we have built a railway, we have signed the Convention of Bruxelles, we became members of the Universal Postal Union. With the powers that have assembled to found this League, we have signed treaties and always respected their commitments. As we have received the Gospel of Christ at the same time as you, we really wished to harmonize our laws with yours, despite the difficulties that hinder us. We are confident that all we have done will be a guarantee, and that you will bear witness of that.

We know that the League of Nations grants the independence and territorial integrity of the States of the world, and keeps them in peace and agreement; that it takes care to increase the friendship among the children of men; that it wants to suppress the obstacles to that friendship, provoking wars when there is an offense; that it gives honor to truth and loyalty. Those principles are well done, especially for a nation that has always remained firmly Christian. The perpetual desire of this christian government is to rule its people in peace and tranquillity, and to develop this country in prosperity. All this suited us, and we agreed to send our plenipotentiary emissaries to sit at the League, and work according to the regulations set by the independent States. We therefore have the honour to ask you to let us know, through the mission we have sent, the decision of the League of Nations, as we have requested through our telegram…

We pray to God our ardent wishes that this friendly foundation of nations will be strengthened and our application favourably accepted.”

Taken from “L’Empire des Negus, Pierre-Alype, 1935 pp. 271-273 and from “Ethiopie Fidele a la Croix“, M.Cleret, 1957, pp. 137-141

Cultural Shop

Pure Resins of Frankincense and Myrrh from Ethiopia

Pure resins of frankincense of different kinds (betekristian, aden, ogaden, copal, lubanja) and myrrh from Ethiopia.



Ethiopia - Land, People and Customs

Coffee is Black Ethiopian

The word “Coffee” derives from the Ethiopian region of Kaffa, from which the plant and its tradition originally come. Every morning, almost every citizen in the West begins his day with this very Black and Ethiopian substance. The beginning of the day continually reminds us of the African and Black beginning of history.
In Ethiopia, coffee is called “Bunna” ቡና: the green beans are roasted, crushed and boiled within an earthenware jug, called “Jebenà” ጀበና, and then filtered, thus obtaining a soft and enjoyable drink, which is flavored with rue and other spices, and served together with incense through a fascinating domestic ceremony…
“Ethiopia has, from the province of Kaffa, given the world the name and product of coffee.”
H.I.M. Haile Selassie I – Selected Speeches p. 116
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

Nelson Mandela, Liberator of South Africa – 1994

Taken from his autobiography “The Long Walk to Freedom”, 1994:

“Ethiopia has always held a special place in my own imagination and the prospect of visiting Ethiopia attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England, and America combined. I felt I would be visiting my own genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African. Meeting the emperor himself would be like shaking hands with history.” (…) 

“Suddenly we heard the distant music of a lone bugle and then the strains of a brass band accompanied by the steady beating of African drums. As the music came closer, I could hear — and feel — the rumbling of hundreds of marching feet. From behind a building at the edge of the square, an officer appeared brandishing a gleaming sword; at his heels marched five hundred black soldiers in rows four across, each carrying a polished rifle against his uniformed shoulder. When the troops had marched directly in front of the grandstand, an order rang out in Amharic, and the five hundred soldiers halted as one man, spun around, and executed a precise salute to an elderly man in a dazzling uniform, His Highness the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah. 

Here, for the first time in my life, I was witnessing black soldiers commanded by black generals applauded by black leaders who were all guests of a black head of state. It was a heady moment. I only hoped it was a vision of what lay in the future for my own country.” (…) 

“The conference was officially opened by our host, His Imperial Majesty, who was dressed in an elaborate brocaded army uniform. I was surprised by how small the emperor appeared, but his dignity and confidence made him seem like the African giant that he was. It was the first time I had witnessed a head of state go through the formalities of his office, and I was fascinated. He stood perfectly straight, and inclined his head only slightly to indicate that he was listening. Dignity was the hallmark of all his actions.


Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

S. Radhakrishnan, President of India – 1965

Addis Abeba, 10th of October 1965

“Your Imperial Majesty, Your Excellencies, and Distinguished Guests: it has been a source of great pleasure for me and the members of my party, to have been able to accept the kind invitation of His Imperial Majesty and be with you just now.

In our country and in many parts of the world, His Imperial Majesty is admired affectionately and treated as a great and good man. He has suffered for the people of Ethiopia. He led the people in the battlefield, and when calamity overtook them, he appealed to the conscience of the world. He pleaded with the League of Nations, suffered exile and came back to power, and since then he has been trying to modernise Ethiopia, to bring to it all the great benefits which modern industry, economic progress and modem reforms can offer to a people.

We have been greatly struck by the fact that though he is a devout Christian, he allows freedom of thought, expression and belief to the Muslims, to the Jews and others who inhabit this land. The calamities which intolerance brings, racial and religious, are to be seen in different parts of the world and are overcome only by the growth of tolerance and understanding, the spirit which His Imperial Majesty is showing in the administration of his country.”

Ethiopian I-tal Food

Incense – Etàn ዕጣን

Incense, called Ettàn in the Ethiopian language, ዕጣን.
It was given to Christ as a symbol of His priesthood, and is essentially burned by the Church for liturgical sanctification and the inspiration of the faithful. As it was written by the Psalmist (141,2):
“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense”
Just like myrrh, it is a resin that is extracted from the bark of a plant, Boswellia, of which we have many different varieties. Depending on the variety, incense can have different colors and be found in crystalline, stony or woody form.
A particular crystalline variety of Boswellia is used for the liturgy, called “Bietekristiyan” (meaning “Church”). Other varieties are used for home fragrance (like “Ogaden” or “Lubanja”) and during the civil ceremony of coffee (for example, “Aden”).