Ethiopia’s Living Churches – in Pictures

Debre Damo, a flat-topped mountain in northern Ethiopia, is one of the country’s most important centres of Christianity. This small, modern church is built in front of the grotto where Aragawi – one of the nine saints, or missionaries, who brought Christianity to Ethiopia – is said to have vanished. (All photographs: Ethiopia – The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom published by The American University in Cairo Press)

The Guardian

As one of the first countries to adopt Christianity, Ethiopia has a legacy of churches and monasteries, built on hilltops or hewn out of cliff faces, as well as vibrant traditions of worship. These are celebrated in a lavish book, Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom.

The festival of Timqat (Epiphany) celebration in Lalibela.

Ethiopia adopted Christianity in the early fourth century. Today, the Timqat festival is the most important of Ethiopia’s nine major Christian feasts, taking place on 19 January to commemorate Christ’s baptism. In this celebration in the northern town of Lalibela, the tabots, or tablets of law, are seen being taken from various churches – wrapped in rich cloth and carried on the heads of priests – to a place of blessing.

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