A Commemoration Mass was held on Sunday, July 25, 2010, at the Medhanialem Orthodox Church in Maryland, in the US, to celebrate the 118th Birthday of the late Emperor Haile-Selassie I. Members of the Royal Family, the Clergy, representatives of the Ethiopian Government, former Imperial Body Guards, and other relatives and supporters attended the celebration.
The late Emperor’s Birthday had been celebrated throughout the world from 1975 onwards, most notably by the Rastafarian Community and others who have held the Emperor in high esteem. Since the year 2000, celebrations have also been held in Ethiopia.
This was the first time it has been formally celebrated amongst Ethiopians in the Diaspora. In welcoming the participants, Prince Tafari Makonnen thanked the Medhanialem Church, the Congregation, and all those in attendance for their participation.
In noting the event, Crown Council President Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie remarked that although the Royal Family had celebrated this occasion with different communities in the past, this celebration, in prayer and meditation amongst our own community abroad, was a special honor.
Following the Service, a luncheon was held as part of the Birthday Celebrations. Following the luncheon, prominent Ethiopian artists, members of the Rastafarian Community, and others made brief remarks in commemoration of the occasion. The program also included a short biographical film on the late Emperor’s life and his legacy. This was followed by a slide representation of the Late Emperor’s special relationship with the United States spanning a period of over 30 years.
All those in attendance commented that the event was a healing experience and one that had to be held.