Girma Yohannis Iyasu

Girma Yohannis Iyasu

Prince "(Abeto Lij)" Girma Yohannis Iyasu (born 1961) is the Iyasuist claimant to the abolished throne of Ethiopia. He is also known by the name Girma Ghebresillasie.


He is the son of Lij Yohannes Iyasu (1915-1977). Through his father, Lij Girma is a grandson of Lij Iyasu, Emperor-designate of Ethiopia from 1913 until 1916 when he was deposed and excommunicated by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which deprived him of his rights of succession. [ The Royal Ark] ] Iyasu was the son of Negus Mikael of Wollo, and matrilineal grandson of Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. Lij Girma left Ethiopia in 1973 and received his education in the United Kingdom and Germany. He has also worked at the University of Bremen as a professor and researcher. [ [ Diaspora Forum] ]

Iyasu claimant

Lij Girma claims that all the governments in Ethiopia since the 1916 deposition of his grandfather are illegitimate, and as such, as a grandson of Lij Iyasu, he claims to be the rightful monarch of Ethiopia. [ Lij Iyasu Michael, Emperor-Designate (Iyasu V)] ] This is not based on any constitutional or traditional procedure, since Ethiopia did not receive its first modern constitution addressing order of succession until 1931, and the traditional male line succession would have gone to Dejazmach Taye Gulilat; Lij Iyasu, Ras Kassa and Emperor Haile Selassie are all decended from the royal house through female lines. This claim is based solely on the will of Emperor Menelik II which designated Lij Iyasu as his heir. These claims are challenged by the excommunication of Lij Iyasu (Iyasu V) by Mattheos X, Abuna of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, and the fact that Iyasu was never crowned, and thus could not be regarded as having legitimately succeeded according to the laws of the day.

Support for the various Iyasuist claimants has dwindled from when they received broad support in the mid-twenties to virtually nothing now. Because of this the Iyasuist cause is outside of the mainstream monarchist movement in Ethiopia. Additionally, Lij Girma's claims to being the Iyasuist heir were challenged by Lij Mesfin Iyasu, a son of Lij Iyasu who formally claimed the Ethiopian throne in 1991, but who died in 1999. There are various other descendants who could make similar claims, although Lij Girma is the only one to currently make this claim.

Lij Girma uses the title "Crown Prince of Ethiopia" as his title of pretence. This title is also claimed by Zera Yacob Amha Selassie the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie I.


He is married to Claudia Bertram, who, since their marriage, goes by the name Princess Claudia Iyasu Menelik. They have one son, Lij Kaerrod Girma. Lij Girma also has two daughters from a previous relationship.


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