Ethiopian Christians are celebrating Orthodox Christmas on Friday, like the rest of the Orthodox Christians.
The holiday specially attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to the holy city of Lalibela, also a UN heritage site, which is prominent for solemn religious celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Mathias, conveyed his Christmas message. “When we celebrate the holiday, we should feed the hungry, provide drink for those thirsty and provide clothing for those who need it,” he said. He also pleaded to the laity to think about those displaced by the conflict (Much of the northern part of Ethiopia has been affected by a conflict which is now well over a year long.)
Protestant and Catholic Church leaders have conveyed similar messages.
Ethiopian Orthodox Church faithfuls fast the six weeks long nativity fasting, reflecting on the significance of the birth of the Lord.
The celebration in Lalibela also attracts tourists from around the world.
The city was under the military control of the US backed Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) for several months. It was only about three or so weeks’ ago that the Ethiopian Force managed to dislodge them from it for a second time.
Much of the infrastructure in the city, including the airport, was deliberately destroyed by the rebel forces after they realized that they could not maintain a hold of it.
Regional and federal governments have reportedly made arrangements for a peaceful celebration of the holiday.
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