DEDICATING DEBRE LEBANOS CHURCH
When two years ago We laid in this monastery of Saint Tekle Haimanot the cornerstone for this church, We had expressed the hope that it will be God's will to enable us to witness its execution. Thus the Almighty who can accomplish everything and grant all that is asked of Him has enabled us to see the completion of the work. How can We pay Our gratitude to God but by thanking Him?
It is authentic that the Ethiopian Saint Tekle Haimanot was Christ's disciple who, by observing St. Paul's remark, "who shall separate us from the love of Christ? affliction or anguish or persecution or hunger or nakedness ….. ?", fulfilled his divine duties, made and rendered several sacrifices and services. Many are the monasteries that owe their existence to him, and innumerable are those who were taught by his disciples. Because of the services rendered by him and holy people like him at a time when Ethiopia was gravely threatened with heathenish and Islamic engulfing, this country came to be known as an Island of Christianity.
Taking advantage of this occasion, We would like to advise Ethiopian bishops and church educators to follow Saint Tekle Haimanot's example, dedicate themselves to this great ideal and save no effort in working and making others work for the propagation of the Christian faith. A brother cannot be of more valuable service to his brother than in this.
We, too, had prayed to God to enable us to build this church along modern lines. We truly thank the Almighty for hearing Our prayer and fulfilling Our dream.
We sincerely thank the board to which, under Our spiritual father His Holiness Abuna Basilios and Our beloved son Crown Prince Merid Azmatch Asfaw Wossen as President, We had entrusted the task of supervising and executing the work, and which has accordingly carried out its task successfully. We further leave the responsibility of assuring the future upkeep and maintenance of the Church to the President and members of the Board.
We pray that the Almighty bestow His blessing and divine grace on all those who are assembled in this monastery in the name of the Saint.
Nov. 18, 1962.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie - page 633 -