Ethiopian Christians gather for Epiphany celebration

ADDIS ABABA – Millions of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians continued for the second day to celebrate Epiphany, a three-day occasion marking the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River and locally known as Timket.

Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Mathias, offered a benediction for thousands of people who congregated to mark the holy occasion in Jan Meda, a wide open field in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Mathias said his church had launched an international campaign to convince the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to include Timket in its world heritage list.

"Ethiopia's Epiphany – with its unique features – will be in UNESCO's world heritage list soon," the Ethiopian patriarch said to the cheering of the congregation as he splashed holy water on the gathering.

According to Ethiopian tradition, the Holy Slabs, a replica of the Tablets of Law, onto which the Biblical Ten Commandments were inscribed, are taken out and put in tents for one night before being taken back to their respective host churches on the day of Epiphany amid chanting from a large number of people.

Last year, UNESCO included in its Intangible Cultural Heritage list Meskel (finding of the true cross), an Ethiopian version of one of the Christian holidays.

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