Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I have known several Ethiopians and Rastafarians in my life. I have not known any Ethiopian Rastafarians (by which I mean Rastafrians of indigenous stock, not the immigrants who live in Ethiopia; Amhara Rastafarians, Oromo Rastafarians, Tigre Rastafarians, Sidaamo Rastafarians, etc). In fact, the two populations seem to mix about as well as oil and water. If I had to guess as to why this is, I would say that there is enough REAL religion and REAL history in Ethiopia that they probably don't have any need for any westerners' fake recasting of their country and its history and its religions. And I don't blame them. Orthodoxy, after all, is true, and Rastafarianism certainly is not. That's something I'm fairly certain Gebre would agree with, regardless of his affinities for the Rastafarian cult that I will openly admit I cannot even begin to understand.
I have, there are many dreadlocked and Rastafarian Ethiopians popping up here and there, and these are like Brother Gebre Menfes Kidus and myself, who venerate the Emperor as opposed to worship. You are quite correct that many Rastafari peoples have many misconceptions about Ethiopia, but you must admire their faith and patriotism, when Ethiopians are BEGGING to leave their motherland, Rastafari peoples are begging to get let in! We are a testimony to Ethiopians that they should not further contribute to Ethiopia's brain drain, that the West is a facade and a myth, and that Ethiopia is Ethiopians homeland, land they should stay there! We have called these folks "the careless Ethiopians who go down to Babylon" and this has been simply shocking to me as an Africanist. If all the educated, wealthy Ethiopians expatriate to the US and Europe, what do they leave behind in their precious Motherland? In Ethiopia, 2/3 of all native-born physicians practice medicine abroad, meanwhile there are less than 200 OB-GYN for a nation of over 35,000,000 women and girls? That is a far more shocking statistic than any Rastafari peoples misusing the Emperor's name
What is the harm of Rastafari peoples idealizing and relocating to Ethiopia, if in the long run it is provoking Ethiopians to jealousy like Romans 11 and causing them so reaffirm their own cultural, historical, and political identity? While Rastafari peoples indeed have a lot of realistic things to learn from Ethiopians, surely there are mutual things we can learn from each other.
Selam to all,
OK in the hope of correcting the kind of blasphemy which is sickening and yet that masquerades itself as something right and that needs to be openly rejected and condemned I will give the meaning of those words that Gebre seems to mistakenly believe that Rastafari= to head of creation. Gebre by your definition if ras is head which is true but is only a princely title, then teferi must be creation which in reality it is not, not even remotely close by any etymology of the term. infact here is the meaning of Teferi. the root word is ' ferehat'/ Fear and the other words derived from it are ' feri'/ coward/ , Asferi/ terrifying/( a word used for events , animals, objects , ideas) whereas when one wants to use it to a person's relation to others we use the word Teferi/ one who is feared by others,terrifying/ it is also related to being respected when it is used as a persons name, and this has mostly to do with being a warrior. now the other false interpretation or more like a rationalisation of former affection, is to say the term JAH only refers to jan-hoye, which is the Ethiopian colloquial way of saying "O King" for the king, how on earth did this traditional term used only for MEN who have become kings, suddenly become distorted by some to mean The LORD JEHOVA? which is what JAH means. Lord have mercy!!! I tremble for those who would dare to say such a thing! I find this most distressing and repulsive.
Now we have cleared that up, I hope in all honesty all those who call themselves members of the Orthodox Church need to abandon any form of former idolatry either hidden in their baggage, or mistakenly still Carry with themselves as a jewellery of sorts. ( Genesis 31:19-35,When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods..... But why did you steal my gods?”
private veneration of a faithful departed should be done in the proper christian manner and in private. anythingelse is foreign to the Apostolic Tradition of the Church. however Idolatry is indirect opposition to everything we believe in and hold dear.
yes, you have correctly pointed out a common Rastafari misconception, but you also were aware that many Rastafari folks speak Amharic and know the corrections? Further, in the concept of Ras Tafari, this phrase has a dual meaning. The literal meaning is "Head Feared-One" as you've already pointed out, so some folks are merely affirming that God is one to be Feared. Folks like myself, who do not worship but do continue venerate the Emperor, use this term to acknowledge that it is through the Person of Ras Tafari, who is HIM Haile Selassie I, that God Almighty perpetuates His Divine Theocratic Order of Creation, that the modern, colonial, Babylonian world is a merely a facade, a dirty mirror like Paul mentioned, but the Truth of God is remaining in His Kingdom and through David His servant. On my wall is a poster made by Ethiopian patriots (not Rastas) which has pictures of HIM with dozens of key world leaders, and you know that to this day HIM is the most widely traveled Head of State, having visited the leaders of almost EVERY SINGLE country of HIM time? We in Rastafari acknowledge HIM as the seat of Divine Authority, even in secular governments of the world, and all this secular authority is almost superstitiously attributed to the Throne and Person of HIM, but God's Grace, hence why the Emperor is titled "Elect of God" and "Light of This
World", the this emphasizing that HIM authority is temporal and contemporary. So when some of us chant up Rastafari, we are acknowledge that God sets the world in its order, and HIM is part of the turning that sacred, cosmic Wheel.
You know we didn't shorten Jah from Janhoy
, that is literally a linguistic coincidence, Rastafari people use the term JAH from their good KJV Bibles, Psalms 68:4, which reads "Jah" instead of the Hebrew "Yah". We were using this term before we even knew who HIM was, back when the pioneer Elders of Rastafari in colonial Jamaica were organizing around Marcus Mosiah Garvey's movement in the bush while venerating the memory of Atse Menelik II, who brought Abyssinianism into the black world when he succeeded against the Italians, and became a bastion for black independence worldwide. We knew about Abyssinia long before HIM coronation, which is precisely why we still use the pre-coronation "Ras Tafari" because our relationship with HIM Haile Selassie I is from the 1920s as HIM stepped up as Ras and then Negus Tafari, stepping up towards the Throne in God's Good Grace.
Now as to your accusations of blasphemy, you should be careful. The Bishops and priests who baptize and fellowship with we, thousands of Rastafari members of the Orthodox Church, have not been as strictly vocal about this as you, maybe we could learn by their Apostolic example rather then our own arguments? Only God can convert the hearts of blasphemy, your thoughtful arguments won't convince anyone, it will only put folks on the defense. Rather, the Orthodox stands true, and HIM sent the Orthodox precisely to the Rastafari people to sort out all these misconceptions. If HIM can personally step off the plane, meet and great thousands of Rastafari peoples, and then proceed to a conference with the Rastafari Elders that lasted several hours, where HIM awarded several Elders with Medals and Honorific positions, while HIM personally choreographed what would become the founding of the first Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Archdiocese and Bishopric outside of African and Jerusalem, and where as it founded? Not in New York, or DC, or London, or any of these places, it was founded in Trinidad! I applaud your sincerity, but you might be a bit over zealous, and as we in Rastafari say, "Them got the zeal but them got the wrong ideal."
The link below shows a very rare video of a fairly complete liturgy celebrated by Pope Kyrillos VI. As you know Pope Kyrillos and HIM had a tremendous bond of affection. Everyone was always naked before Pope Kyrillos, he saw straight through the souls of all who stood before him. So for me, Pope Kyrillos' great love for HIM says much.
Go to the beginning of the video starting around 1:56 and you can see Pope Kyrillos and HIM standing next to each other with arms locked together.
Simply gorgeous, thank you for posting this Father it moves me so deeply to see Janhoy and His Holiness sincerely embracing like fond brothers I dare say it even looks like the are comforting each other in the hectic environment of the crowd, like nervous siblings or even a child with HIM parents (HH being the Father, HIM being the child),. It is so crucial to post things like this, which is why I posted this thread, because folks need to see HIM from the Orthodox lens, and stop letting Rastafari mix them up, Rastafari culture is for Rastafari people, but HIM is for everybody
Selassie I Jah!
I have no problem with the royal titles bestowed upon HIM. They are by no means unique to the Ethiopian monarchy.
However, the phrase "Selassie I Jah" is blasphemy. Haile Selassie was a mere man, not Jah. I know Selassie means Trinity, the Trinity is, of course, Jah. But "Selassie I" is the title given to Tafari Makonen. Those who shout "Selassie I Jah" or "Jah Rastafari" are not Orthodox but the worshippers of men.
You simply misunderstand our unique, Rastafari nomenclature. Just as we in Rastafari practice a concept of "I-speak" (which is a way of changing all the first letters of words to "I" to emphasize the "I-ity/unity" of all Creation and hence the inherent equality of all things) we also have very particular ways of addressing names and titles. In Rastafari we also bear the names "Jah", for example a good brother of mine is known internationally as "Jah Faith" and many folks know me as "Jah Chris" and many many of the Elders of Rastafari bear these titles. We are not calling each other as God specifically, we are referencing that God is within us all equally being created as humans in His Image. So when I call brother Jah Faith by this title, I am acknowledging that God dwells in this brother, as He dwells in us all. So when we in Rastafari apply this title towards HIM, we are not all necessarily affirming HIM as God Incarnate rather we are acknowledging that God is in HIM as God is in us all. True, many Rastafari folks acknowledge HIM as "Jah" implying HIM is God Almighty, but that is their misconception, in the origins and roots and etymologies of Rastafari culture this is simply not the case. We have been calling each other "Jah" for over 70 years now, and when those of us in this category call HIM "Selassie I Jah" we are reaffirming the power of God cooperating in the Synergy of the Holy Spirit in the Personality of HIM. HIM, as THE Universal Christian sovereign, is the source of the "Jah" titles among human beings, because a the Emperor, HIM is the seat of Divine Authority on the Earth. We look to HIM to see God cooperating in synergy with world affairs and governments, and so we rightfully site HIM as the first "Jah". I would be silly to say that many many Rastafari peoples do not see HIM as God, but it would be equally misrepresenting to assume that ALL folks who are Rastafari and use these terms are saying this, Rastafari is a diverse movement.