Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Demera, the eve of the Finding of the True Cross (Maskel) upon which Jesus Christ was crucified, was celebrated on Wednesday colorfully throughout the country.
Here in the capital, the day was celebrated in the presence of tens of thousands of residents of the Addis Ababa City, members of the diplomatic community and foreign tourists as well as senior government officials. Deacons and priests as well as students of Sunday Schools attired with white blank traditional clothing played religious songs and hymn that added color to the holiday. Dozens of foreigners and diplomatic corps were also in attendance at the event.
The torch that was erected at the center of Maskal Square was lit by Ethiopian Orthodox Church Interim Patriarch, Abune Nathnael and Addis Ababa City Administration Mayor representative, Tsegaye Hailemariam. Abune Nathnael on the occasion said called on the faithful to work hand in hand to eradicate poverty from the country. He calls for concerted effort for the registration of the Meskel festivity to be inscribed by UNESCO. Tsegaye on his part said the unity in the festivity should be done in the fight against poverty. He said various religions should stand in unison and rally behind the government for the realization of Growth and Transformation Plan.
Demera has been celebrated in the country for over 1,600 years. Empress Helena, mother of Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, traveled to the Holy Land in 326-28, to discover the true cross. She discovered the hiding place of the three crosses that were used to crucify Jesus Christ and the two thieves, and a miracle revealed which of the three was the True Cross.
Empress Helena is considered by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern and Roman Catholic churches, as well as by the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Churches as a saint.