Thursday, November 26, 2015

Google Doodle celebrates Lucy the Australopithecus found in Ethiopia | Daily Mail Online

Google Doodle celebrates Lucy the Australopithecus | Daily Mail Online: "Google Doodle celebrates 'Lucy': Animation marks the anniversary of when the Australopithecus skeleton was unearthed
Fossil dubbed AL 288-1 or 'Lucy' was found 41 years ago in Ethiopia
3.2 million-year-old bones changed the understanding of our origins
Lucy Google Doodle shows Australopithecus afarensis walking between a chimpanzee and a human to show the transition between the two species

PUBLISHED: 13:12 GMT, 24 November 2015 | UPDATED: 13:26 GMT, 24 November 2015

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On this day in 1974, the 3.2 million-year-old fossil of a female skeleton named AL 288-1 or 'Lucy' was unearthed in Ethiopia - and it would later change our understanding of the origins of mankind.

To mark the 41st anniversary of this discovery, Google has released an animated Doodle.

It shows the previously unknown species Australopithecus afarensis walking between a chimpanzee and a human to illustrate the transition between the two species.


On this day in 1974, the 3.2 million-year-old fossil of a female skeleton named AL 288-1 or 'Lucy' was unearthed in Ethiopia. To mark the anniversary, Google has released a Doodle that shows Australopithecus afarensis walking between a chimpanzee and a human to illustrate the transition between the two species

According to analysis of her bones, Lucy is thought to have walked on two legs in what is now Ethiopia, 3.2 million years ago (the Google Doodle is pictured)

According to the analysis of her bones, Lucy is thought to have walked on two legs.

While her gait may have resembled ours, she had a small skull more similar to a chimpanzee's, which supports the idea that walking came before an increase in brain size.


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She was much smaller than us, standing 3.7 feet (1.1metres) tall when fully grown and weighed just 64 lbs (29kg) - making her between twice and three times as light as a modern British woman. 

Despite being so old, her skeleton is 40 per cent intact excluding the hand and foot bones.

It is this, and her name, which Donald C Johanson, who discovered the fossil near the village Hadar in the Awash Valley, believes has made her so famous and likeable.

Lucy was much smaller than us, standing 3.7 feet (1.1metres) tall when fully grown and weighed just 64 lbs (29kg) - making her between twice and three times as light as a modern British woman. A sculptor's rendering of how she may have looked is shown above


Despite being so old, her skeleton (pictured left and as a 3D model right) is 40 per cent intact excluding the hand and foot bones, giving us a good idea of her height and posture

He has since unearthed 363 specimens of her kind, spanning 400,000 years, but Lucy was much older than other hominin fossils known at the time and expanded the field of research massively.


One of the most important features of the Lucy skeleton is a valgus knee, which indicates she walked upright.

Her thigh bone shows a mixture of ancestral traits such as a small femoral head, while the greater trochanter - next to the head at the top of the bone - is short and human-like.

Another indication that she sits between chimps and humans is her arms.

The length of her humerus to femur is 84 per cent, which compares to 71.8 per cent for humans and 97.8 per cent for chimpanzees.

Her skeleton shows Lucy had a lumbar curve – another indication she walked upright.

The palaeoanthropologist told Time that Lucy was named after the Beatles song 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,' which was popular with archaeologists at the camp and was played on repeat. 

One of the researchers suggested the name for the fossil and it stuck.

Dr Johanson believes the non-threatening name helps people think of Lucy as a real personality and they 'can envision the three-and-a-half foot tall female walking around,' because her skeleton is so intact.

He said: 'She showed us conclusively that upright walking and bipedalism preceded all other changes we'd normally consider being human, such as tool-making.

'She gave us a glimpse of what older ancestors would look like.'

Since the discovery, it has become accepted that Neanderthals are not our direct ancestors and fossils have been found that are twice as old as Lucy, as well as 'hobbits' in Indonesia to make our family tree 'bushier' with lots of new characters being added.

Dr Donald Johanson who found the fossils believes the non-threatening name helps people think of Lucy as a real personality and they 'can envision a little three-and-a-half foot tall female walking around,' because her skeleton is so intact. Australopithecus afarensis family are imagined in a museum exhibition (shown)

An even more complete skeleton of a related hominid, Ardipithecus was found in the same Awash Valley in 1992.

'Ardi', like Lucy, was a hominid-becoming-hominin species but is older, at 4.4 million years old.

The Lucy fossil is kept in Ethiopia, although casts are in many museums around the world and the original toured the US for six years, from 2007.  "

'via Blog this'

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ethiopian aliya to resume after two-year hiatus - Israel News - Jerusalem Post

The cabinet on Sunday unanimously approved an Interior Ministry proposal to resume aliya from Ethiopia, which was suspended in 2013.

Around 9,000 people have been waiting in Addis Ababa and Gondar transit camps for the past several years in the hopes of making their way to the Jewish state. However, Jerusalem closed its doors in 2013 following a ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport at which officials declared the “end” of Ethiopian aliya.

The fate of the prospective immigrants has been a matter of some debate, with Ethiopian-Israeli activists protesting what they saw as the breaking up of families.

When Ethiopian aliya officially ended, supporters of the decision, such as Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund chairman Eliezer Sandberg, described a radically different situation than that portrayed by the activists. He called those left in Ethiopia gentile relations of Ethiopians in Israel.

“I believe we all have relatives of relatives of relatives who don’t [meet] the criteria [for aliya]. I think it’s a mistake to blend together the joy of the return and the closing of the operation from Ethiopia with the personal issues of some people,” Sandberg told The Jerusalem Post in 2013.

According to Sunday’s cabinet decision, any Ethiopian who moved to Gondar or Addis Ababa after January 2013, is willing to convert to Judaism and has relatives here who can apply for his acceptance, will be eligible to move.

“The main criteria to receive an entry permit to Israel, in accordance with the decisions of the previous governments, were that [the olim] are descended from Ethiopian Jews on their mothers’ side, and that they appear on one of the lists attached to the government decisions in question. Upon completing these government decisions, it turns out that many families from the Ethiopian community were split up. Some members are in Israel, while others remain in Ethiopia,” a copy of the proposal leaked to the press last week explained.

In a statement to the press on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said that a committee composed of representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Population and Immigration Authority, the Immigration and Absorption Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Jewish Agency will be in charge of examining applicants’ eligibility.

Interior Minister Silvan Shalom described the cabinet’s move as “a significant decision that will bring the last descendants of Ethiopian Jews and will unite them with their families in Israel.”

Shalom has been pushing for renewed Ethiopian immigration for some time, stating in the Knesset in July that he intended to bring to Israel between 6,000 and 7,000 people during his tenure.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likewise praised the decision, saying that it was “an important step that will enable the unification of Ethiopian families who are in the country, some of which have been split over the years.

“This is the second time during my time as prime minister that we pass a resolution for the sake of bringing in members of communities with an affinity to Israel. This is an important issue and we will continue to promote it,” he said.

Ethiopian-Israeli MK Abraham Naguise, one of the primary lobbyists for Ethiopian aliya, praised the decision, calling Sunday a “great day for the Jewish people.

“I congratulate the prime minister and the interior minister on this historic and meaningful decision for Ethiopian Jewry and their families in Israel. For thousands of years, Ethiopian Jews prayed to immigrate to Israel, and [many have] waited for nearly a decade, painfully torn from their families. Today their prayers were answered.”

Speaking with the Post last week, Naguise said, “More than 85 percent of [those left behind in Ethiopia] have first degree family in Israel – parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.

“They must be brought to Israel and reunited with their families. They are an undivided part of our community.”

The requirements of the new aliya program give off a “foul odor of racism and disrespect,” complained Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova Sunday evening, stating that she believed that it would lead to protests by the Ethiopian community in Israel.

“Who wrote the list in 2013? What were his criteria,” she asked, intimating that the current system being set up for vetting immigrants was broken and stating that if people had previously applied to move here there would be no reason for them to apply again.

During the most recent Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting in Jerusalem last month, Director of Aliya and Absorption Yehuda Scharf said that pending a government decision on those remaining in Ethiopia, it would be possible to reopen aliya from that country almost immediately.

Within hours of the cabinet decision, agency chairman Natan Sharansky said his organization “stands ready to implement the government’s decision in the swiftest and most efficient way possible, and we look forward to helping bring the families currently waiting in Ethiopia home to Israel.”

The Jewish Agency still employs a number of locals in Ethiopia and maintains a roving emissary who will be returning there shortly, an agency spokesman said.

And while it will take several months until Ethiopians begin arriving due to the necessity of waiting for a list of approved immigrants, Scharf told the Post that once it gets the go-ahead, the Jewish Agency will be able to reopen its facilities in Gondar in less than a day.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Why Is the Beta Israel Term for God Different from the Hebrew Terms for God? » Mosaic

The answer might help uncover the origins of Ethiopian Jewry.
An Ethiopian Jew celebrating the holiday of Seged. Wikipedia.

An Ethiopian Jew celebrating the holiday of Seged. Wikipedia.

NOV. 11 2015
About the author

Philologos, the renowned Jewish-language columnist, appears twice a month in Mosaic. Questions for him may be sent to his email address by clicking here.

Yoske runs a small and popular hummus place in our town. He’s a Ḥabad ḥasid and keeps a shelf near the door with religious literature for customers to browse in while waiting. A few days ago, I was surprised to come across there, among the tracts of advice and inspirational treatises, a slim paperbound volume identified by its cover as Volume III, No. 1 (1980-81), of theJournal of the American Society for Jewish Music. “Yoske,” I asked, showing it to him, “what is this doing here?” Yoske had no idea. “Someone must have donated it,” he said. “But if you found it, God wanted you to have it, so take it.” His term for God was the traditional ha-kadosh barukh hu, “the Holy One Blessed Be He.”
I took the Journal of the American Society for Jewish Music home with my hummus and soon was reading an article on “Seged: A Falasha Pilgrimage Festival.” Its author, Kate Kaufman Shelemay, later published a book titled Music, Ritual, and Falasha History.Yoske would have taken all this as a confirmation of his belief in Providence, because the Seged festival, an annual celebration of Ethiopian Jews—who are rarely called Falashas any longer and are often referred to as Beta Israel—occurs this year on November 11, just in time for today’s language column.
These days, Seged is observed almost exclusively in Israel, to which nearly all Ethiopian Jews have immigrated. Back in the early 1980s, however, it was restricted to the highlands of northern Ethiopia. As described by Shelemay:
On the 29th day of the eighth month [the Beta Israel lunar calendar begins, as the Jewish year did in antiquity, with the spring month of Nisan], . . . the Falashas come together to ascend a mountain, where they prostrate themselves in prayer. The fast observed by them during the mountaintop ceremony is broken when the community descends to the village below to take part in feasting and secular entertainment. . . . The nameseged is derived from a Geez root meaning “to bow” or “to prostrate oneself.”
Geez or Ge’ez, a south Semitic language no longer spoken, is sacred to both Christian and Jewish Ethiopians. The Torah of the Beta Israel, who had no knowledge of Hebrew, was written in it, and much of their liturgy is recited in it. Its Semitic affiliation can be seen in the word seged itself, a cognate of the Hebrew verb sagad,which, too, means to bow or prostrate oneself.
Anyone knowing Hebrew, indeed, can easily pick out many such words in the Ge’ez phrases that Shelemay records in the ceremony attended by her. In her list of the prayers recited on the mountaintop, for instance, there is one that begins ‘esebḥo la’egziabher baḥeywatya, “I will praise God in my life.” “I will praise” in Hebrew is ashabe’aḥ; “in my life” is beḥayay; and Hebrewle-, “to,” is like the la of la’egziabher, the preposition following the Ge’ez verb for “to praise.” Although Hebrew belongs to the northwest Semitic family and is about as far from Ge’ez as two Semitic languages can be, their common roots are apparent.

But what Hebrew canbe recognized in egziabher, “God”? None at all, which is something to think about.
Egziabher is a Ge’ez word with three components: egzi, “Lord”; –a, a possessive postclitic; and beher or bher, “nations”—in short, “Lord of the Nations.” The word is not an immemorially old one. Rather, it was coined during the 4th-century reign of Ezana, Ethiopia’s first Christian monarch, who ruled over and extended the domain of the powerful kingdom of Aksum. Its coiner was probably Ezana’s religious adviser Frumentius, the Syrian-born first bishop of the Ethiopian church. Prior to the arrival of Christianity, the Aksumites had been pagans worshiping different gods and lacking a word in their vocabulary for the single God of monotheism. Egziabher was a neologism invented to fill this gap, and to this day it is the word for God in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia that is descended from Ge’ez and spoken by many Beta Israel.
Could this have a bearing on Ethiopian Jewry’s origins? Broadly speaking, there exist two opposing schools of thought regarding those origins. One is that the Beta Israel community in Ethiopia predated Christianity and continued to maintain itself after the latter’s establishment; the other, that it was a Judaizing offshoot of Christian groups that did not crystallize until a thousand years after Ezana.
Proponents of the first view have pointed to the existence in Ge’ez of a small number of clearly Hebrew-derived words, such asmeṣwat, “alms,” from Hebrew mitzvah, “commandment” or “good deed,” and tabot, “ark,” from Hebrew tevah. Perhaps the most interesting of these is the Ge’ez word for Friday, ‘arb, which can only be explained as deriving from Hebrew erev, “evening,” and specifically, from the expression erev shabbat, “Sabbath eve.” Unless there were already Jews in Ethiopia in pre-Christian times, it is argued, such words could not have entered Ge’ez.
Adherents of the second view concede that Jews, settling in Ethiopia from Yemen, Egypt, or elsewhere, could have introduced such words into Ge’ez but contend that the Beta Israel cannot be traced back to them. And this, it may be, is where egziabher comes in. After all, if a pre-Christian Jewish community had survived as the Beta Israel, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that it would have preserved its own Jewish—that is, originally Hebrew—word or words for God, brought by it to Ethiopia before a parallel Ge’ez word existed? If only a single Hebrew word had remained in its vocabulary, wouldn’t this in all likelihood have been that word?
Jewish communities speaking the world’s different languages have always, as do English-speaking Jews, used those languages’ words for God, whether these be Yiddish got, Ladino dio, Arabic allah, or others, but they have also always had their own distinctively Hebrew words and names, like Yoske’s ha-kadosh barukh hu. The fact that this is not the case with the Beta Israel suggests that they may never have had any Hebrew epithets for God to begin with, which would strengthen the argument that their origins are relatively late. Although it is, of course, no proof of anything, it does make one wonder.'

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Genome from 4,500 Years Ago Pulled from Ear in Africa

Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter

John Arthur, of the Unviersity of South Florida St. Petersburg, excavates in the Mota Cave in southwestern Ethiopia in this undated photo. (USFSP)
John Arthur, of the Unviersity of South Florida St. Petersburg, excavates in the Mota Cave in southwestern Ethiopia in this undated photo. (USFSP)
Anthropologists have pulled a complete genome from a 4,500-year-old skeleton found in Ethiopia, a discovery which could have far-reaching implications for understanding prehistory in the region.

The ancient male remains were recovered from a cave in Ethiopia’s Gamo highlands in 2012 – and they could pull enough intact genetic information from the bones in the inner ear to make a full sequence,they announced in today’s issue of Science.
“We have given him the name Bayira, meaning ‘first born’ in the Gamo language in honor of the ethnic group that lives in the area today,” said John Arthur, the anthropologist from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg who led the team.
The genetic sequence has indicated that people from Europe and Asia had not yet mixed into the gene pool from that part of modern-day Ethiopia, the scientists said.
“Bayira’s genetic sequence does not contain any West Eurasia genes, supporting the idea that more recent population movements are responsible for Eurasian admixture into modern African populations,” Arthur added. “Thus, his genome is important for understanding the out-of-Africa expansion of Homo sapiens and later population movements between Africa and Europe.”
The genetics also show three genetic variants adapted to the high-altitude, low-oxygen environment of the highlands region – and the genes also resemble those of the people currently still living in the region, they added.
“Bayira is genetically closets to the Ari ethnic group, an Omotic-speaking society living in southwestern Ethiopia today,” said Kathryn Arthur, also of the scientific team.
“This is an extraordinary discovery, a contribution to the fields of anthropology and archaeology that will be recognized by scientists around the world,” added Sophia Wisniewska, the regional chancellor of USF.
DNA has provided insights into prehistorical dispersion of humans and hominids. Earlier this year a team from Harvard Medical School found genes from natives in South America that linked more closely with Australasian populations – which complicates the theory of a single population coming over the iced-over Bering Strait around 15,000 years ago.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Prehistoric Eurasians streamed into Africa, genome shows

This boy's ethnic group, the Ari, is closely related to a prehistoric African who lived in the Ethiopian highlands.

Africa is the birthplace of our species and the source of ancient migrations that spanned the globe. But it has missed out on a revolution in understanding human origins: the study of ancient DNA. Although researchers have managed to sequence the genomes of Neandertals from Europe, prehistoric herders from Asia, and Paleoindians from the Americas, Africa's hot and humid climate has left little ancient DNA intact for scientists to extract. As a result, “Africa was left out of the party,” says anthropological geneticist Jason Hodgson of Imperial College London.
Until now. A paper published online this week in Science( reveals the first prehistoric genome from Africa: that of Mota, a hunter-gatherer man who lived 4500 years ago in the highlands of Ethiopia. Named for the cave that held the remains, the Mota genome “is an impressive feat,” says Hodgson, who was not involved in the work. It “gives our first glimpse into what an African genome looked like prior to many of the recent population movements.” And when compared with the genomes of living Africans, it implies something startling. Africa is usually seen as a source of outward migrations, but the genomes suggest a major migration into Africa by farmers from the Middle East, possibly about 3500 years ago. These farmers' DNA reached deep into the continent, spreading even to groups considered isolated, such as the Khoisan of South Africa and the pygmies of the Congo.
Anthropologists John and Kathryn Arthur of the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, discovered the skeleton in 2012 at Mota Cave in southwest Ethiopia after local Gamo elders led the pair to the cave, a hiding place for the Gamo during wartime. The Arthurs unearthed the skeleton of an adult male beneath a stone layer and dated it to 4500 years ago using radiocarbon. The researchers analyzed the petrous bone of the inner ear, which can sometimes preserve more DNA than other bones.
DNA had indeed survived in the ear bone, perhaps aided by the cool temperatures in the highland cave. Researchers were able to sequence each DNA base more than 12.5 times on average, considered a high-quality genome. When population geneticist Andrea Manica and graduate student Marcos Gallego Llorente at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom analyzed the sequence, they found that the Mota man had brown eyes and dark skin, as well as three gene variants associated with adaptation to high altitudes; some peaks in the highlands reach 4500 meters, as high as the Matterhorn.
By comparing 250,000 base pairs from Mota's genome with the same sites in individuals from 40 populations in Africa and 81 populations from Europe and Asia, the team found that Mota was most closely related to the Ari, an ethnic group that still lives nearby in the Ethiopian highlands. They zeroed in on the DNA that the Ari carry but Mota doesn't, which was presumably added during the past 4500 years. They found that Mota lacks about 4% to 7% of the DNA found in the Ari and all other Africans examined. This new DNA most closely matches that of modern Sardinians and a prehistoric farmer who lived in Germany. Hints of these early farmers' DNA previously had turned up in some living Africans, but Mota helped researchers zero in on the farmer's genetic signature in Africa, and to establish when it arrived.
Manica suggests that both the European farmers and living Africans inherited this DNA from the same source—a population in the Middle East, perhaps Anatolia or Mesopotamia. Some of these Middle Easterners headed into Europe and Asia starting 8000 years ago, and were the first farmers of Europe (Science, 20 February, p. 814). But other descendants of this population migrated into Africa, likely after Mota lived. This fits with traces of Middle Eastern grains found in Africa and dated to 3000 to 3500 years ago.
Because so many far-flung Africans still carry the farmers' DNA, the study suggests a “huge” migration, Manica says. Farming had already been established in Africa by this time, but the newcomers likely had some advantage that explains why their genes spread. “It must have been lots of people coming in or maybe they had new crops that were very successful,” Manica says.
Population geneticist David Reich of Harvard University is struck by the magnitude of the mixing between Africans and Eurasians. He notes that “a profound migration of farmers moving from Mesopotamia to North Africa has long been speculated.” But, he says, “a western Eurasian migration into every population they study in Africa—into the Mbuti pygmies and the Khoisan? That's surprising and new.”
Migrations into and out of Africa were likely complex and ongoing. “This study is significant on its own,” Hodgson says. “But hopefully it is only just the beginning of ancient African genomics”.

Scientists Recover First Genome of Ancient Human From Africa - The New York Times


A skeleton found in the Mota cave in Ethiopia yielded a complete assemblage of DNA. CreditKathryn and John Arthur

A team of scientists reported on Thursday that it had recovered the genome from a 4,500-year-old human skeleton in Ethiopia — the first time a complete assemblage of DNA has been retrieved from an ancient human in Africa.
The DNA of the Ethiopian fossil is strikingly different from that of living Africans. Writing in the journal Science, the researchers conclude that people from the Near East spread into Africa 3,000 years ago. In later generations, their DNA ended up scattered across the continent.
“It’s a major milestone for the field,” said Joseph Pickrell, an expert on ancient DNA at the New York Genome Center who was not involved in the study. For decades, scientists had doubted that ancient DNA could survive in the tropics. The study raises hopes that scientists can recover far older human genomes from Africa — perhaps dating back a million years or more.
“I would bet it’s not that far in the future,” said Lee Berger, a paleoanthropologist at the University of the Witwatersrand who recently announced the discovery of an ancient humanlike species called Homo naledi.
In the 1980s, few scientists would have believed it possible to reconstruct an entire genome from the DNA in a fossil. Once a human or other animal dies, its DNA starts to fall apart. Bacteria swiftly colonize the corpse, overwhelming it with their own DNA.
But by the 1990s scientists were beginning to retrieve fragments of DNA and piece them together into longer segments. In 2010, researchers assembled the genome of a Neanderthal from 38,000-year-old fossils from Croatia. In many other cases, researchers failed to find ancient DNA in human fossils. Because it was widely suspected that the heat and humidity in the tropics would destroy genetic material, many scientists flocked to places like Siberia to seek ancient DNA.
That skepticism proved to be unwarranted. In recent years, Ron Pinhasi, an archaeologist at University College Dublin, and his colleagues have been surveying different bones to see if any are particularly good for preserving DNA. They found that the bone surrounding the inner ear can hold an abundance of genetic material even when other bones have lost theirs.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pope Tawadros visits Ethiopia, takes part in Holy Cross feast | Cairo Post

Pope Tawadros visits Ethiopia, takes part in Holy Cross feast

Pope Tawadros II - YOUM7/Hussin Tallal
CAIRO: Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of St. Mark See will visit Ethiopia Saturday to celebrate the Feast of The Holy Cross, Al Masry Al Youm reported Thursday.
During the visit, scheduled to last for six days, the Pope will meet with Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Abune Mathias I and will visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral in addition to a number of Ethiopian monasteries and museums, including the National Museum and the Patriarchal Museum, Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt Mahmoud Dirir told Al Masry Al Youm.
The visit comes more than nine months after a high-level delegation of Ethiopian clergymen headed by the Patriarch Mathias I visited Egypt during the Coptic Christmas celebrations in January, spokesman for the Coptic Orthodox Church said in his Facebook page Wednesday.
According to Dirir, Pope Tawadros II will lead a mass at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion located in Ethiopia’s northern town of Axum.
The visit coincides with ongoing negotiations on the Grand Renaissance Dam which has caused tension in the relations between Egypt and Ethiopia.
Dirir stressed that the relationship between the two Churches plays an important role in consolidating relations between the two countries and that it aims at emphasizing the depth of historical ties between Egypt and Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was judicially related to the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria in until 1959 before it was considered as autocephalous Church by the Coptic Patriarch Cyril VI, Islamic and Coptic history Professor Fathy Khourshid previously told The Cairo Post.
The Holy Cross festival, also known as Maskel, is celebrated across Ethiopia on Sept. 27 to commemorate the unearthing of the True Holy Cross of Christ, said Khourshid.