The ancient churches in the sky of Ethiopia

The Basilica of St. Mary of Sion is just one of the symbolic churches that were built in the ancient kingdom of Axum, now part of Ethiopia, which was one of the first nations in the world to adopt Christianity.

The Christian religion spreads in 330 AD when King Ezana the Great imposed it as the state religion and ordered the construction of the Basilica of Santa Maria di Tsion which contains a legend.

According to tradition, in fact, Menelik, son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, brings here the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments. It is no coincidence that the church was renamed as the ‘chapel of the Ark’ and is located in the sacred Ethiopian city Aksum.

Even today the monks watch over the “Tabot” (the Tablets of the law) and do so until their death, since they are not allowed to overcome the barriers that surround the church.

According to the book of Exodus, the Tablets of the Law contain the ten commandments that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai; some apocryphal legends attribute supernatural powers to the Tables. What is certain is that after the destruction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem no one knows for sure where the Ark of the Covenant ended up.

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians are confident that the Ark of the Covenant was brought nearly 3,000 years ago to Aksum in northern Ethiopia and has since been kept by monks in the humble church of St. Mary of Zion.

Another example of a church built in impossible places and shrouded in mystery is the Abuna Yemata Guh of Tigray in northern Ethiopia. This 5th-century church stands 650 meters high on a rock that points to the sky.

To reach it, you have to climb without ropes or harnesses, walking slowly along narrow ledges and crossing a rickety makeshift bridge. The reason is simple: the church was founded by Abuna Yemata, one of the nine saints, who chose the secluded place as his hermitage.

Another example of a monastery projected into the sky is the one located at the top of the Debre Damo mountain, the only possible way to get there is a sheer cliff of fifteen meters. The monastery was founded by Abba Aragawi, another of the nine saints, known for his collection of manuscripts.

Source : Green me it

Add Comment