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Empress Menen

Princess Mrs (Woizero) now Empress Menen the wife and consort of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. Empress Menen was the daughter of Asfaw, Jantirar of Ambassel. born in March 25, 1883 in Wollo province Ambassel Region at ‘Egua’ area. She was baptized in St Delba George Church. Her Christian name was ‘Wolete Giorgis’. Her name ‘Menen’ is given for the most beautiful respected ladies.

“Princess ‘Woizero’ now Empress Menen was grown well be her parents, then she has got instructor at home like the former Lords’ and Dukes’ sons and daughters. Empress Menen know her native language, Amharic the reading and writing skill. Her Amharic teachers were Maduna and Father Workineh. Beyond academic education she has learnt home economics & spinning as Ethiopian tradition.

Father ‘Jantirar’ Asfaw was a direct descendant of Emperor Lebna Dengel, through Emperor Gelawdewos of Ethiopia and his daughter Princess Enkulal Gelawdewos and this genealogy was deleted from the official history of Etege Menen. The title of Jantirar has traditionally belonged to the head of the amily holding the mountain fortress of Ambassel, and Jantirar Asfaw was one of them.

Mother was Woizero Sehin Mikael, half-sister of Lij Iyasu (Iyasu V), and daughter of Negus Mikael of Wollo. Woizero Sehin's mother, Woizero Fantaye Gebru, was a direct descendant of EmperorSusenyos in the "Seyfe Melekot" line. Empress Menen and Emperor Haile Selassie were the parents of six children: Princess Tenagnework, Prince Asfaw Wossen (Emperor-in-Exile Amha Selassie I), Princess Tsehai, Princess Zenebework, Prince Makonnen Duke of Harrar, and Prince Sahle Selassie.

Sacred Marriage

His Majesty King of Ethiopia Haile Sellassie was the Governor of Harar. The bride princess ‘Woizero’ Menen was in Addis Ababa. The then Dejazmach Teferi Majesty King of Kings of Ethiopia, Haile Sellassie I sent to Addis Ababa his loyal servant the then Gijazmach now prince ‘Ras’ Emiru Haile Sellasse, “Lij’ Beshah Wured. “Kegnazmach Gobaw leading other invited follows with them were sent travelled from Addis Ababa riding horses and mules and reached in July 23, 1903 in Harar. When they arrived there, Dejazmach Teferi waited them at the place called Hammaressa near to Harar Kejazmach Teferi was accompanied by his loyal servants and lords to receive her with respect. In addition to this the Harar army was awaiting to receive the princess around Awash. The people of Harar wished for the couple to be like the sacred marriage of Abraham and Sarah.


22 Jan. 1905 the first daughter princess was born. This princess was baptized at Kombolcha Mariam and her Christian name is Fikirte Mariam. She was named by her grand father’s mother’s name Tenagne Work and called Tenagne Work Haile Sellassie. Princess Tanagne Work have go many children and become grand mother.
In July 8, 1908 the second son “Duke” was born. This Duke was named by his father Majesty Haile Sellassie and called Asfa Wosen. He was baptized at Adere Tiko Trinity Church and his Christian name was give Amha Sellassie.

Princess Menen delivered Prince Asfa Wosen in Harar city. By the time Dejazmach Teferi was in Addis Ababa. She hug the small baby and travelled to Addis Ababa. When she started her Journey they reached at Qersa. The next day princess Menen travelled from Qersa to Dire Dawa. From Dire Dawa they travelled by train to Awash and they reached at Akaki on Sept 1.

Princess Menen reached in Addis Ababa using the ‘Faltu’ train on Sept 2. They use ‘Faltu’ train because the modern train was introduced in the country. Prince Asfa Wosen have got many children and grand chldren.

In July 18, 1909 the third princess was born.

The princess Christian name is given as Hirute Sellassie. And her name is called princess Zenebework. The princess died in March 15 1925 having no children.

In Sept. 17, 1909 prince Eyashu was impeached by vote and dejazmach Teferi promoted to the rank of Ras and became crown prince of Ethiopia. He has got full authority to govern Ethiopia on behalf of the people and Empress Menen has got a rank of princess.

In Oct. 17, 1909 “Lij’ Eyasu was over thrown from his authority of ruling the country. Even though their grand father father king Michale made civil war since he was at the side of his son Lij Eyasu Michael. Princess Menen kept her promise with her husband crown prince Ras Teferi Mekonnen and showed her loyalty helping him up to the end.

In Feb. 4, 1909 Empress Zewditu took over her father’s position. Her father was Emperor Menelik II.

During that time the crown Prince “Ras’ Teferi Mekonnen had got gold crown and princess “Woizero’ Menen became Empress also got the rank of princess and gold crown.

In Oct.2, 1912 4th princess was born.

The Christian name of this princess was Wolete Birhan and her name is called princess Tsehay.

Princess Tsehay was kind and willing to help the poor. She died in August 12, 1934 without having any children.

There was incomplete church by Empress Taitu in 1910 which is found in east Addis Ababa around Entoto Tigat. EmpressTaitu told to Empress Menen to complete it. Keeping her promise Empress Menen invested a lot of money and constructed the church.

Empress Taitu gave this project to Empress Menen because she knew spiritually that princess Woizero Menen will be Empress in the future.
  In March 16 1915 the “Kidane Mihret”  church started its ceremony.
The church became monastery and called “Hamere Noh’.
 Empress Menen gave her estate to the monastery helped those who give service to the church.
 This monastery is still a shelter for many Christians. There is holy water near to the church which people immersed and drink it. People from every corner of Ethiopia give thanks to Empress Menen for this Holy water.
In March 1915 empress Menen travelled to Jerusalem to visit where Jesus Christ was born. Jesus Christ preached Christianity and sacrificed himself for the sake of our sin. Empress Menen went to Jerusalem by train and ship via Djibouti reached in Jerusalem. After she visited every part of Jerusalem, she went to Egypt to visit holy places. She gave a lot of money to monasteries and came back to her places.
  In October 5, 1916 Empress Menen delivered the fifth prince.
 The prince took the name of his grandfather Mekonnen while his Christian name was Araya Yohannes.
 Orice Mekonnen the Duke of Harar, passed away in May 4, 1949 after he had five sons.
In May 30, 1916 His Imperial Majesty Haile Sellassie was visiting Europe in order to communicate Ethiopia with different states.
 In May 20, 1908 Majesty Haile Sellassie was saved from the accident of Harmay sea and Empress Menen was praying wishing that prince crown to come back home safely. Empress Menen gave her daughter Princess Tenangne Work Haile Sellassie to be married with His Excellency “Ras” Desta Damtew on Nov 7 1917.
            In May 28 1919 Empress Menen donated a big amount of money for the poor’s children and freed slaves to construct schools.
            In Oct. 3 1920 her mother “Woizero Sihin passed away in Addis Ababa at the age of 56 years. The funeral ceremony was at Debre Selam Medhane Alem Church.

            In June, 1920, Empress Menen visited Teferi Mekonnen school and donated money after observing different kinds of handicraft products.

            In Sept. 27 1921 His Imperial Majesty Haile Sellassie promoted as Ethiopia King of Kings Prince crown with full authority celebrated crown ceremony. On this occasion Empress Menen showed her ability in inviting the invited guests throughout 8 days feasting.

            The feasting had historical chapter which cannot be forgotten.

            In Nov. 18 1921 Empress Menen went to Djibouti due to health problem and came back on December 9.

            On Feb. 5, 1921 she took king Mechale’s dead body from Holeta Genet Kidane Mihret Church to St Michale Church at Tenta. By the time she accompanied up to Desie and came back to Addis Ababa.

            In March 24, 1922 Majesty Empress Zewditu passed away. His Imperial Majesty Haile Sellassie I took over the crown of his grand father King Menelik II. As a result of this empress Menen has got also the same chance as her husband promoted.

             In Sep. 24. 1923 empress Menen founded a new school for girls near to Genete Loul Palace. This makes women to be participated in the sphere of knowledge and technology equally with men. In this school a great number of ladies has got a chance to learn.

Many students got scholarship to foreign countries, this school fulfilled its objective.

            In Oct. 23, 1923 (November 2nd 1930!!!!!) His Imperial Majesty Haile Sellassie I King of Kings of Ethiopia coronated at Menagesha St George Church, he allowed Princess Menen to be Empress and crowned.

            The invited guests from different countries had got prize of silver medal which had the picture of King of Kings of Ethiopia Haile Sellassie I and Empress Menen.
            Dear invited foreign guests appreciated the beauty of Empress Menen.

            In Feb. 20, 1923 Empress Menen delivered the 6th prince. The prince took his Christian name of his grand father prince Sahile Aba Dina. He was baptized at ‘Mekane Sellassie’ Church in Addis Ababa.

In Feb.3, 1924 Empress Menen went to Djibouti for visit and came back on February 10 to Addis Ababa.”

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