By Abel Ghirmai, Sept 11, 2012
Three Ethiopian orthodox churches in the great Seattle area collaborated to commemorate two remarkable men, Abune Paulos and PM Meles Zenawi.
It was long said Great minds think alike, and fools seldom differ. The quote implies highly intelligent people tend to come up with the same ideas at the same time. And the fools, well for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say they shadow.
The two great statesmen, courageous, highly disciplined individuals left us one week after another. These selfless human beings’ professions greatly vary, one politician and economist and the other spiritual leader but the outcome of their vision was the same. The immense love they have had for their country Ethiopia and the undisputable affection and heart they had for the poor and the vulnerable is parallel. They both were the embodiment of everything virtuous.
This Sunday, three prominent churches, St Ammanuel, St. Michael, and St. Mary church located in the greater Seattle, WA areas who serve predominately the Ethiopian community joined hands to commemorate our late spiritual leader his holiness Abune Paulos, the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church and the late Prime Minster of Ethiopia, Mr. Meles Zenawi. Each church brought their members accompanied by their head priests to pray and to honor the memories of the two extraordinary men.
The spiritual leaders and their colleagues delivered emotional and relevant touching messages, sang Ethiopian spiritual songs, and prayed for the departed so they are saved through faith in Christ and in heaven where they will experience rest and joy in God’s presence. A brief biography about their glorious lives and the challenges they had endured was read. Did you know the PM joined the TPLF giving up a promising medical career at the age of 20. I also wonder how many people might be aware of the number of years his holiness was imprisoned by the dictator Derg (1974-1983). A video presentation depicting both leaders was also shown by the leadership of Tigrai Community Association of Seattle. Mourners, young and old also gathered to pay their final respects.
Finally the commemoration ended with passionate speech and prayer by the former head priest of Emmanuel Church of Seattle, Abba (ሊቀ፡ ኣበው፡ ቆመስ፡ ኣባ፡ ሓዲስ ግደይ) Haddis Gidey who preached the word of God under Ethiopian Orthodox Church for over 45 years. Abba Haddis, former classmate and close friend of Abune Paulos testified that our holiness to be an amazing preacher and always has had the best interest at heart of all Ethiopians and the Ethiopia orthodox church congregation. Abba Haddis added that his holiness was truly a visionary and above all, it was H.E Haile Selassie I and Abune Paulos who liberated the Ethiopian Orthodox church from the dependency of Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria in Egypt, where our churches used to report to. It is only after the separation from the Coptic Church, The Ethiopia Orthodox church to be widely known and expand thorough out the world.
On a personal note, it is through the tears that I had left to share with you that I had the honor and privilege meeting these great men. I will cherish it and the memories that I had spent with them will be engraved in my mind forever. I am certain; my kids feel the same way and do hope and pray that they will do their part in keeping the dreams and aspiration of the departed leaders alive.
Rest In Peace, Abune Paulos & PM Meles. Your contributions will live on for generations to come.