An Ethiopian Journal

"Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters"

Posts Tagged ‘Lalibela

The “New Jerusalem” of Ethiopia

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The imprints of Judaism run so deep in Ethiopia

BBC Christianity (Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity)

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Written by Tseday

November 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Lalibela was built with the help of Angels not Aliens

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A recent documentary on the History Channel suggesting that the churches of Lalibela were built with the help of aliens! And supposedly the aliens are going to reclaim the Ark of the Covenant from Axum when they return to earth?!?

Written by Tseday

August 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches

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Great mini-documentary on the history and significance of Lalibela

While churches sought to rise to the sky in Europe, in Africa they were being carved out of the earth. In the highlands of Ethiopia during twelfth century, a man called Lalibela rose to power, was crowned King, and went on to establish a Christian empire spanning the highlands and stretching to the sea. His ambition was to build a religious state and a spiritual center to rival Jerusalem. He claimed to have been shown – in a vision – the most holy of churches in Heaven. He ordered tools be made to carve temples out of the rock like those he had seen.

Craftsmen toiled in the stony mountains for over twenty-four years to create these unique rock churches. Some of Lalibela’s motivation to build these unusual structures stemmed from a desire to claim legitimacy. He belonged to a dynasty that had seized the throne and the churches helped him gain acceptance. His efforts paid off: today he is revered as a saint and his shrine attracts a continuous flow of pilgrims. While all religions at one time or another have constructed shrines and physical symbols to serve an ideological purpose, striking awe into to the layman and establishing the clergy’s direct connection to the power of God, Lalibela clearly lacked legitimacy and used these temples to insure his leadership.


Written by Tseday

April 8, 2009 at 12:22 am

Knight’s Stone

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Called ‘Dalle des Chevaliers’ in French, this engraved stone is said to have been the cover stone of the crypt beneath the church at Rennes-le-Château. According to the legend, Saunière found it lying upside down and had it lifted by Adrien Marre and Féliciean Marceau, two local workmen.

Beneath the stone was a hole in which Saunière allegedly found a small pot containing a couple of goldpieces, a Visigoth necklace and a golden Chalice dating from around the 13th century (that he later gave to his friend Abbé Grassaud). He told the workman that he had only found some worthless Medallions of Lourdes and sent them home. He apparently didn’t recognize or appreciate the value of the cover stone itself for he used it as a stepping stone for the Calvaire where it was ‘re-discovered’ in 1926.

According to Henry Buthion, who ran the Saunière estate for some 40 years after he had bought it from Noel Corbu in 1965, the stone once sealed the mural tomb of Sigebert IV. Buthion was convinced that Saunière discovered this tomb and took jewellery and two golden crowns from it that he gave to friends and relations.

The stone is thought by some to depict the flight of Sigebert IV to Rennes-le-Château in 1681. Others have noticed the resemblances with the official seal of the Knight’s Templar of two men riding one horse. Dutch writer Klaas van Urk recently made a case for the stone to depict the two entrances of the Grail Church Bieta Mariam in Ethiopia, once the place where the Ark of the Covenant was hidden. In his explanation, the left part of the stone depicts the ritual of preparing the Ark of the Covenant, the right image is a Grail Knight carrying the round symbol of the Holy Light. Fact is that the image  engraved over the double entrance of Bieta Mariam bares a striking resemblance to the right tableau of the Dalle des Chevaliers.