BY FASICA BERHANE
ADDIS ABABA – “The Menilik II Taa’ka Negest Bata Lemariam Monastery is said to be in danger of cracking!” The development committee of the monastery made this remark while the Church’s 100th years anniversary was celeberated. “The exterior part of church appears to be just fine,but the interior bases of the building are suffering from damages and several cracks that could worsen through time” said Getachew Tesfaye, Vice Chairman of Development Committee of the Monastery Church. “The condition of the Church is worsening and needs quick renewal as 7 out of the 8 pillars’ bases are damaged on the inside. Thus currently only one pillar is holding the church together,” he added.
A research made by the committee collaborating with the Addis Ababa University with a team lead by Fasil Giorgis suggested that a renewal with suitable materials that could substitute the old. The material must be brought from abroad. Hence,a total cost of 40 million birr is estimated for a renewal project. According to Getachew the committee is making consultations with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Addis Ababa Culture and Tourism bureau to raise fund for the renewal of the monastery, which is one of the major tourist sites in the capital housing museum with important historical heritages including materials used at the battle of Adwa, manuscripts, tombs of King Menillk II, queen Zewditu, Taytu, princess Tsehay daughter of Haileselassie I and the last pope of Egypt Abune Matiwos.
The monastery also holds the first orphanage school that still operates to date and is a center that has brought many prominent priests, father figures and theology scholars of the orthodox Tewahdo Church. In addition the first retirement rehabilitation center for elders established by queen Zewditu is found nearby the compound of the monastery despite its capacity to further foster elders due to budget shortage. The monastery was founded by empress Zewditu in 1910 and inaugurated in 1920 memorial of her father emperor Minilk II the then emperor of Ethiopia from 1889 to his death 1913. It is characterized by its unique features of marble, rich architectural and interior design engineered by by German architects. On its 100th anniversary Tuesday 12 December hundreds of believers including tourists were in attendance.