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My name is Wolde. I have one name, but many titles.

The title with which most foreign visitors

are familiar is "Emperor". I also use "Ras" and "Negus". However, my people call me

"Negusa Nagast", which translates to "King of Kings"(www.haileselassie.net/titles-in-the-

empire-of-ethiopia/). I understand if the titles are confusing. Since my name is Wolde and I am

emperor of my country, just call me "Emperor Wolde". Although please keep in mind that the

titles are still very important to our Aksumite people and our rich history. Here, in the Kingdom

of Aksum, we try to follow the old ways. Even though we are in the middle of 598 A.D., we still

appreciate the ways of our noble ancestors. We speak Ge'ez, which might explain why some of

the titles were lost on you. It is our intent to strive to maintain our

identity(www.fsmitha.com/h1/ch29af.htm). Our old rivals the Meroe and the Kush are long

gone. Now, much of the Mediterranean, Arabia and India trades with us. Even though it's been

quite some time, the Prophet Mani said back in 3rd century that along with Persia, Rome and

China, Aksum is one of the four great powershttps://www.britannica.com/biography/Mani-

Iranian-religious-leader). Take that, Meroe and Kush! As Emperor, my people look up to me, but

they also look to me to keep our Kingdom of Aksum great! There's a tremendous amount of

pressure. We try to stay a major player in the Spice routes and even occasionally the Silk Road

travels through our ports, such as Massawa(www.fsmitha.com/h1/ch29af.htm). We don't want to

end up like Meroe and Kush. Then, there's personal pressure on me, too. I'm 23 and I'm still

single. The good people of Aksum want to see me get married and start a family. The bloodline

must continue...and not just so there will be another emperor in the future, but to keep the

precious Solomonic line intact! A big part of the royal family of Aksum...oh, who am I

kidding?!? The only important thing about our royal family is that we are descended from King

Solomon and the Queen of


Sheba(ethiopianorthodox.org/english/ethiopian/prechristian.html#2intro). As mentioned in I

Kings 10 and II Chronicles 9 in the Old Testament, the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon.

Our legend tells us that we, of the royal family, are descended from their son, Menelik(ibid.).

This might just sound like a story to you, but it's very important to our identity. Our religious

faith is also part of our identity. It is who we are. Our national identity is deeply interwoven with

our religion. We are Orthodox Christians. To be more specific, we are Ethiopian Orthodox

Christians. We are not polytheistic like much of Africa. We are not animists like some of the

other African tribes. We are not Jews like some who live near the Red Sea. We were not

introduced to Christianity by the Europeans! We didn't get Christianity second-hand from Rome!

It wasn't imposed on us! St. Mark the Evangelist brought Christianity to Egypt and Africa from

Jesus Christ, the Apostles and the Holy Land! This is of paramount importance to us. It was a

gift outright! It is the Pearl of Great Price! It was entrusted to us. We must uphold it. We must

safeguard it. If, in the future, any group, friend or foe, Black African, White European or Brown

Arab, tries to introduce a new or different religion to us, we must not submit! We, no matter if

the world knows us as Aksumite, or Abyssinian or Ethiopian, must never compromise our

Orthodox Christianity. It is our identity and our heritage. We have already felt outside forces at

work to undermine our faith and to challenge our identity. Back in 451 A.D., we Christians had

our 4th ecumenical council. The Christian churches meet in Chalcedon, just east of

Constantinople. The other Orthodox Churches accepted a new definition of Christ's nature. We

rejected their definition of the two natures of Christ. Therefore, in terms of our religious faith, we

are no longer in communion with our Greek Orthodox brothers and sisters from Athens or from

Constantinople and with our Arab Orthodox brothers and sisters from

Antioch(www.oikoumene.org/en/church-families/orthodox-churches-oriental). We still are in


religious communion with the Coptic Orthodox in Egypt, the Armenians and the Indian

Orthodox from Kerala. However, in terms of proximity, they are quite far away from us (with the

possible exception of the Copts). Since we are traders and a vital part of many well-established

routes, we come in contact with many outsiders. We deal with them warmly, honestly and

courteously, but we must hold fast to our precious faith! We are proud of our faith. It is our

national identity. It sets us apart from many others, particularly other Africans. Perhaps this is

why we were the first nation to put the Cross on its

coins(https.//ethiopianhistory.com/Aksumite_Coins/). Pretty cool, huh? We are also the home of

the Ark of the Covenant! We try not broadcast it much, because we don't need invaders and

raiders here. It's right here in Aksum. Maybe I shouldn't have said that. We want to keep it safe

here. I'm thinking of maybe in the future having our artisans carve out one of our churches (or

maybe two) out of sheer rock...maybe out in Lalibela(www.sacred-

destinations.com/ethiopia/lalibela). That seems like a good place for a church. Well, that's just

something else to think about. I better write a note to remind myself about that. Well, as they say,

"uneasy lies the head that wears a crown". And, if they don't say it yet, someone eventually will.