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November 2nd 1930

On this page:  Break with trodition   /  I Timothy's account
National Geographic  
/  HIM on Leadership   /  Marcus Garvey's words
Other pages :
Coronation prophesy in the Bible  /  from the book The Biography of Empress Menen, The Mother of the Ethiopian Nation    
H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie 1st -EWF Inc. 2nd of November 1930 Coronation Report / Throne Speeches 
off site link Coronation Pictures from the Anglo-Ethiopian Society


Break with Trodition

One of the most important events in the  RasTafarian calendar  is the Anniversary of the Coronation of  Emperor Haile Selassie I. This event took place on the 2nd November 1930. 
His Imperial Majesty broke with  trodition by delaying the ceremony for some time after the death of the previous ruler, Queen Zawditu.
The reasons for this are described by His Majesty in His autobiography: 

"On the 17th Maskaram 1909 (27th September 1916) I was chosen heir to throne and regent, with Queen Zawditu occupying the throne; and when I had patiently carried out the work of government, for fourteen years, in my office of regent plenipotentiary, Queen Zawditu died on 24th Magabit 1922 ( 2nd April 1930) and, consequently, on the morrow I was proclaimed Emperor and assumed the throne.
    "As regards the succession to throne and crown, we have read in history that, at a time when Ethiopia lived in isolation and before she had established relations with foreign countries, the prevailing custom had been, at the demise of the Emperor, for his death often to remain carefully unannounced. They would then place his son and heir on the throne and crown him immediately that very day. Only after the son's reign and coronation had been announced by proclamation, would they give a ceremonial burial to the dead King.
    "At other times, at the demise of the Emperor, the officers of the royal household would take him clandestinely and bury him, before anyone could hear about it, and on the morrow they would place his son and heir on the throne; after they had conducted the royal installation service and crowned him, the death of the father and the new reign of the son would be announced by proclamation at the same time.
But now that Ithiopia had concluded treaties of commerce and friendship with twelve foreign governments, had entered the League of Nations, and had established firm friendly relations, We were convinced that it was proper - in accordance with the practice of the most civilized governments in the case of their coronations - to invite to Our coronation the countries which had set up legations and consulates in Ithiopia. But as it would require a long time to dispatch the letters of invitation and to await the  arrival of the delegates, as well as to make all the necessary preparations for the coronation, We arranged for the ceremony to be postponed for seven months."

"My Life and Ethiopia's Progress, Autobiography of Haile Selassie I " - Page 171-3


The ceremony also broke with trodition in that the Empress was crowned on the same day as the Emperor and not three days later.



The Coronation of
H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I

I Timothy, 1983 Children of Judah Pub. Co. 

"The invited foreign envoys begin to arrive around October18, from such places as England, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands, Japan, Egypt, France, U.S.A., Germany, Greece, Turkey, and Poland. Following ancient tradition, 49 bishops and priests in groups of seven, in seven corners of the cathedral, chant continually nine Psalms of David for seven days and nights prior to the coronation.

"On November 1, the eve of the coronation, the Emperor inaugurates a statue of the great Menelik II. The honor of unveiling goes to the Duke of Gloucester, the envoy of the King of England. The same evening, the imperial vestments and ornaments are taken in a great parade to the royal church of St George and consigned to the Archbishop who prays over them all night. The cathedral of St. George is a magnificent structure built during the reign of Menelik II and was the scene of the crowning of Empress Zawditu in 1916. His imperial Majesty and His family enter the church at midnight for a night of prayer. 

"More the 700 guests and officials are in attendance on November 2, 1930, to witness this ancient Hebraic-Christian coronation ceremony. Lion-maned chieftains are interspersed among the foreign guests and dignitaries, each according to rank and station. Hundreds of priests join the original group, resplendent in their colorful ceremonial robes, bearing crosses and censers. Before the royal ritual begins, His Majesty is approached by the Archbishop, His Holiness Abuna Kyrillos, with a Holy Bible bound in gold, and is asked to pledge the following four-part oath: 

"To strengthen and defend the orthodox faith, and to keep, without disturbance, the laws and ordinances which the Orthodox Church has laid down
"To act with consideration for the interests of the people according to law as well as with kindness and patience
"To safeguard the entire Ethiopian realm and people in accordance with the established law and the ordinances of the Council
"To assist with the establishment of schools in Ethiopia where secular  and spiritual education would be developed and the gospels would be preached"
The Emperor then affirms verbally and in writing that He is willing to fulfill His duties as ruler."

"Next, the Abuna recites the prayer of the covenant, after which the choir with the drum and harp accompaniment chants the 48th Psalm. During this Interval, abbots from various monasteries bring the royal articles one by one, hand them to the six bishops, who were assigned by the Archbishop to the coronation service, and the bishops in turn pass the articles to the Abuna to be blessed. The objects are returned to the respective bishops who then present them to His Imperial Majesty, reciting appropriate lines. With each of the seven ornaments, His Imperial Majesty is anointed on the head, brow, and shoulders with seven differently scented ointments of ancient prescription. He is first vested with a gold sword along with this exhortation: "May you be enabled with this sword to punish the wicked and protect the righteous."

"This is followed with the bestowal of the Imperial scepter of ivory and gold, and the golden orb (globe), a diamond incrusted ring, two traditional lances (spears) filigreed in gold, the imperial vestments, and finally,  anointing His head with oil, the Abuna places upon H.I.M. the triple crown. The Archbishop concludes the regal anointing with the words: "That God may make this crown a crown of sanctity and glory. That, by the grace and the blessings which we have given, you may have an unshaken faith and a pure heart, in order that you may inherit the crown eternal. So be it." The Crown Prince, Asfa Wossen, removes his coronet and on bended knee pledges his allegiance, service, and support.

"The Empress and her ladies of honor then enter the sanctuary from the right side and she takes her throne to the right of His Majesty for her coronation. It has been determined that the Abuna is to place the crown and ring upon Her Majesty, without the regal anointing, on the same day of the Emperor's coronation. This not only breaks tradition, but sets a historical precedent as the earlier practice was for her to be crowned on the third day after the coronation of the Emperor, in the palace and not in the church.

"The final part of the ceremony is a tour of the cathedral by their Imperial Majesties, escorted by the bishops and priests, the princes and dignitaries, assistants and others, carrying palm branches and chanting, "Blessed be the King of Israel" The procession continues onto the Addis Ababa streets, where throngs of well wishers wildly cheer the Royal Family. The event draws to a close with Their Majesties visiting the other churches in the city to give thanks and praise."
(from Reggae & African Beat 12/1983)



National Geographic version

"As Sunday, November 2, dawned clear, all in Addis Ababa began to prepare for the impressive event of the morning. The Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah and his Empress have just completed a night of prayer and devotion at the most high altar within. Through the early morning the chanting of praises continued, accompanied by the dancing of the priests with their great pulsating drums, the whole suggestive of the Ancient Jewish rites which were in use at the time of King David danced before the Ark of the Covenant.

"Proceeded by waving incense burners, His Imperial Majesty, attired in white silk communion robes, entered the ceremonial hall with an escort of aides and clergy, and took his place upon the Throne. The thrilling but solemn silence gently breaks to the throaty voice of his holiness the Abuna Kyrillos: 
"Ye princes and ministers, ye nobles and chiefs of the army, ye soldiers and people of Ethiopia, and ye doctors and chiefs of the clergy, ye professors and priests, look ye upon our Emperor Haile Selassie 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 the time of King Sehale to our times."

"Forty nine bishops and priests of this ancient Christian country, in groups of seven, have held place for seven days and nights in the seven corners of the National Cathedral to chant without ceasing nine Psalms of David. They are now joined by hundreds more. The established Coptic Church is revered and all-powerful in Ethiopia. This is a day when it may and does show its impressive might and splendor.

"The Emperor, whose name is Anglicized as Power of the Holy Trinity, before the questioning of the Abuna gives his sacred pledge to uphold the Orthodox religion of the Church, to support and administer the laws of the country for the betterment of the people, to maintain the integrity of Ethiopia, and to found schools for developing the Spiritual and Material welfare of her subjects.

"Chanting and prayers to the God of Gods rise from a multitude of priestly throats and reverberate from the lofty ceiling of the Cathedral. One by one with the solemn rites and blessings of the high Ethiopian clergy, He received the Gold-Embroidered Scarlet Robes, the Jeweled Sword, Imperial Gold Scepter, the Orb, the Diamond Encrusted Ring, and two Gold Filigree Lances in token of His position and responsibility. Following ancient customs, as when Samuel anointed David, and Zadok and Nathan anointed Solomon, so the Abuna anointed His Majesty's head with oil. Seven differently scented ointments of ancient prescription are received on the Imperial head, brow, and shoulders. He then concluded with the words:

 "That God make this Crown a Crown of Glory. That, by the Grace and the blessing which we have given, you may have an Unshaken Faith and a Pure Heart, in order that you may inherit the Crown Eternal. So be it."
The centuries seemed to have slipped suddenly backwards into Biblical ritual.
"The assembly applauded their greeting, and the visiting naval band played the National Anthem, while outside cannons roared a salute of 101 guns, and cheer after cheer came from thousands of subjects massed in the vicinity of the Cathedral."

Report by Addison E. Southard, United States Minister to Ethiopia.
National Geographic, June 1931



His Majesty speaks on leadership

"We all know that the need for good leadership in every walk of life is much greater today than ever before. Every aspect of living demands guiding hands, business, the professions, fine arts, the mechanical arts. And all of you young people who have been given the opportunity of an advanced education will in the future be called upon to shoulder, in varying degrees, the responsibilities to leading and serving the nation.
"It is important however to remember that leadership does not mean domination. The world is always well supplied with people who wish to rule and dominate others. The true leader is of a different sort. He seeks effective activity which has a truly beneficent purpose. He inspires others to follow in his wake, and holding aloft the torch of wisdom leads the way for society to realize its genuinely great aspirations.
"You have learnt from your study of history that the story of nations is often told in terms of the accomplishment of individuals. In every significant event in history you will find a courageous and determined leader, an inspiring goal or objective, and an adversary who sought to spoil his efforts.
"In any normal society everyone has some opportunity to show himself as a leader, Even the mechanic or clerk who has an assistant assigned to him, not to speak of the doctor with all his helpers the officer who commands his troops, is a leader. Within his own sphere each has the same opportunity for showing ability and the same potential satisfactions as has the leader of a Government. The leader is marked out by his individual craftsmanship, his sensibility and insight, his initiative and energy.

"Leaders are people who raise the standards by which they judge themselves, and by which they are willing to be judged. The goal chosen, the objective selected, the requirements imposed are not merely for their followers alone. They develop with consummate energy and devotion their own skill and knowledge in order to reach the standards they themselves have set. This wholehearted acceptance of the demands imposed by ever-higher standards is the basis of all human progress. A love of high quality we must remember is essential in a leader.
"Dependability is another requirement in a leader. To be dependable is to be willing to accept the responsibility and to carry it out faithfully. A leader will always be willing to take counsel from his people. But will have to often act on what his own mind tells him is right. This demands that the leader has trained himself out of any inordinate fear of making mistakes.
"To embark successfully in a career involving leadership demands a courageous and determined spirit. Once a person has decided upon his life's work and is assured that in doing the work for which he is best endowed and equipped he is filling a vital need, what he then needs is faith and integrity, coupled with a courageous spirit so that no longer preferring himself to the fulfillment of his task he may address himself to the problems he must solve in order to be effective. "One mark of the great leader is that he feels sufficiently secure to devote his thought and attention to the well being of his subordinates and the perfection of his task, rather than being constantly worried about the approval of disapproval of others.
"He who would be a leader must pay the price in self-discipline and moral restraint. This entails the correction and improvement of personal character, the checking of passions and desires, and an exemplary control of one's bodily needs and drives.

"Leaders have to submit themselves to a stricter self-discipline, and develop a more exemplary moral character than is expected of others. To be first in place one must be first in merit as well.
"It should not surprise us then to find that the greater number of acknowledged leaders have been people who trained themselves in the art of discipline and obedience. He who has not learned to render prompt and willing service to others will find it difficult to win and keep the goodwill and co-operation of his subordinates.
"Further a leader must possess initiative which is the creative ability to think in new ways and do new things. The leader has always to stay ahead. He cannot afford to set up a procedure and then fold his hands and linger lazily watching it work. He cannot be content merely to see new trends and take advantage of them. He must keep his imagination vividly alive so as to originate ideas and start trends.
"A word of warning is in order here. To help one's subordinates or dependents at the cost of harm to the public is tantamount to sacrilege and blasphemy. It is unfortunate that many in positions of leadership both great and small have been found guilty of such practices.
"A good leader is devoted to his work and will willingly forego even the demands of sleep to see its accomplishment. This does not mean that he is impetuous. On the other hand, he maintains a balance between emotional drive and sound thinking.
"His labors, which sometimes appear excessive, derive from his firm realization that unless a man undertakes more than he can possibly do he will never be able to do all he can do. It is his enthusiasm that stimulates his energy.
No matter what our point of departure in speaking of leadership we reach the inescapable conclusion that the art of leadership consists in the ability to make people want to work for you when they are really under no obligation to do so.
The true leader is one who realizes by faith that he is an instrument in the hands of God and educates himself to be a guide and inspirer of the nobler sentiments and aspirations to the people. He will kindle interest, teach, aid, correct and inspire. Those whom he leads will co-operate with him in maintaining discipline for the good of the group. He will instruct his followers in the goals towards which to strive, and create in them a sense of mutual effort for attaining the goal."



" Last Sunday, a great ceremony took place at Addis Abbaba [Ababa], the capital of Abyssinia.  It was the coronation of the new Emperor of Ethiopia - Ras Tafari.  From reports and expectations, the scene was one of great splendour, and will long be remembered by those who were present.

"Several of the leading nations of Europe sent representatives to the coronation, thereby paying their respects to a rising Negro nation that is destined to play a great part in the fiiture history of the world.

"Abyssinia is the land of the blacks and we are glad to learn that even though Europeans have been trying to impress the Abyssinians that they are not belonging to the Negro Race, they have returned the retort that they are, and that they are proud to be so.

"Ras Tafari has travelled to Europe and America and is therefore no stranger to European hypocrisy and methods; he, therefore, must be regarded as a kind of a modern Emperor, and from what we understand and know of him, he intends to introduce modern methods and systems into his country.  Already he has started to recruit from different sections of the world competent men in different branches of science to help to develop his country to the position that she should occupy among the other nations of the world.

"We do hope that Ras Tafari will live long to carry out his wonderful intentions.  From what we have heard and what we do know, he is ready and willing to extend the hand of invitation to any Negro who desires to settle in his kingdom.  We know of many who are gone to Abyssinia and who have given good report of the great possibilities there, which they are striving to take advantage of.

" The Psalmist prophesied that Princes would come out of Egypt and Ethiopia would stretch forth her hands unto God.  We have no doubt that the time is now come.  Ethiopia is now really stretching forth her hands.   This great kingdom of the East has been hidden for many centuries, but gradually she is rising to take a leading place in the world and it is for us of the Negro race to assist in every way to hold up the hand of Emperor Ras Tafari.”

Words of Marcus Garvey printed in the “Blackman” Kingston, November 8th 1930.