10th October 2012 - The Carlton Club, London
At a meeting of the Grand Magistral Council in March 2011, the Grand Master announced that he had admitted the President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia in exile, HIH Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, into the Order in the rank of Knight Grand Cross of Justice. Prince Ermias is the only son of His late Imperial Highness Prince Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, the youngest son of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is very important in the history of Christianity for it is said to have been the first nation to convert to Christianity as a nation. The biblical ties to this region, however, precede the conversion for, according to ancient tradition, the first King of Ethiopia, Menelik, was the son of Solomon, king of Israel and Judah, by the Queen of Sheba (Ethiopia). But earlier than this, in remote antiquity, stands the lofty figure of the Patriarch Enoch, he who fathered Methusaleh, and lived a life of such sanctity and holy simplicity that Scripture says of him, “...he walked with God, and then at age 365, he was translated...” (i.e. taken up to heaven – see Genesis 5). So it is fitting that the Order of St Lazarus should have close ties to this cradle of Christianity at the highest level.
Unfortunately, there had been no opportunity for the Grand Master to invest Prince Ermias with the insignia of his rank, so, when the Charismatic Bishop Doyé Agama SChLJ – Moderator of Churches Together in England (CTE) and a chaplain in the Commandery of John of Gaunt – informed the Secretary-General that he was hosting a visit to the UK by Prince Ermias, it seemed proper to arrange a social occasion at which HIH could be invested and where charitable initiatives in Africa could be discussed.
Accordingly, a private dinner was held at The Carlton Club on 10th October last year, the Grand Master giving permission for our Bailiff, H.E. Charles Holloway, to invest Prince Ermias on his behalf. At the same time, the Grand Priory of England & Wales admitted the prince’s wife, Princess Saba Kebede, to the Companionate of Merit in the rank of Dame of Merit.
Among those present were representatives of Abune (“Archbishop”) Entonios, the Ethiopian Bishop of Northwestern Europe, and His Grace, the Bishop of London, The Rt Revd. Dr Richard Chartres ECLJ; together with senior officers of the Grand Priory; the commanders of the two London Commanderies, Dame Mervyn Redding DCLJ and Chev. Norman Hunter Rose KCLJ; Sir Antony Reardon Smith Bt. GCLJ (Bailiff Emeritus) and Lady Reardon Smith; and benefactors of the Order in England & Wales.
The occasion was a convivial one. After the dignified formality of the investiture, our royal guests, became relaxed and entertaining in their conversation with all present. It is hoped that our relationship with Ethiopia, thus established, will prove a strong bond of Christian friendship in the future.
A full selection of photographs of the event can be viewed in the Gallery.
Chevalier Gareth Vaughan KCLJ