The faithful of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church have rallied throughout the country to celebrate the annual festival of Timket; a dramatic contrast to the fighting that continues in much of the country.
GV: Followers of Ethiopian Orthodox Church marching in the street.
SV: Worshippers and priests carrying tabots.
SV: Children singing while marching.
GV: Mass crowd following.
LV: Procession arriving at Janmeda.
SV PULL BACK TO GV: Carriers of the tabots watch as drumme??? beats rhythm and priests chant.(TWO SHOTS)
CU: The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
LV & CU: Priests chanting and dancing. (THREE SHOTS)
CU: The Patriarch gives benediction and blesses the tabots.
SV PULL BACK TO GV FROM: The tabots TO the priests listening to the blessing.
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Background: The faithful of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church have rallied throughout the country to celebrate the annual festival of Timket; a dramatic contrast to the fighting that continues in much of the country.
SYNOPSIS: The ceremony is one of the main events in the Church's calendar and every year attracts thousands of worshippers. The religious ceremonies which celebrate the baptism of Christ in the river Jordan.
Although the Timket festival draws priests and worshippers into the streets throughout Ethiopia, it is in Addis Ababa, the capital, that the most spectacular celebration takes place. It is part of a tradition that can be traced to the origins of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Historians say Ethiopian Christianity began in the fourth century when two brothers were captured from a ship and sent to the king. It appears they won his confidence and began to preach throughout the country.
There has been little change in the religious ceremonies. Followers of the church still celebrate Christ's baptism by carrying religious relics in processions to streams and brooks for an overnight open-air service.
Robed priests lead the crowd with chanted ritual prayers, sung to the beat of drums. In Addis Ababa, Timket is celebrated by overnight services in 14 locations.
The priests are led by the church Patriarch, His Holiness Abuna Tekle Haimanot. Until recently, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church formed part of the Coptic Church, based in Egypt. But in 1959, after many years of negotiations, the Ethiopian Patriarch finally was granted full independence.
Yet, even while the Patriarch gave the crowd his blessing, Ethiopian troops in the north and south east of the country continued their bitter struggle on two fronts; in the Ogaden against Somali-backed guerrillas and Eritrean separatists.