The Holy Relics of Ashetan Maryam Monastery, Ethiopia (10 Photos)steemCreated with Sketch.

in creativecoin •  18 days ago  (edited)

Ashetan Maryam (Saint Mary) Monastery is about a two hour hike east of the city of Lalibela in Ethiopia. Compared to the churches within the city, the monastery was unremarkable both inside and out, but still impressive considering it was carved out of a rocky hilltop by human hands.  It was commissioned during the rein of King Lalibela during the 13th century.  The best thing about the trip were the portraits I took of the resident priest.

1: Here our friend holds the first of a few relics kept at the monastery, an Aksumite cross, with each section depicting a religious scene. This includes my personal favorite of St. George slaying the dragon on the right side. The priest's facial expression just looks so natural!

2: In this photo, he models an antique bible, which has hand-painted writing and artwork on velum. I swear I didn't pose him at all for this photo!

3: Holding two old hand crosses I was told date back to the original construction of the church

4: A fold-out section of one of the holy books depicting many scenes from Christianity.

5-6: A two-sided icon depicting scenes from Christianity. One side is has been broken, but side depicting St. George slaying the dragon is in pristine condition.

7. This is the monastery itself. As you can see from the surroundings, it was carved out of the stone hilltop. A less modern canopy has been constructed over the top of it for preservation purposes.

8: In this photo you get a feel for the location of the monastery. The mist kept rolling in and out, so it was very difficult to get a clear picture. Standing on this spot, nearby you could here a priest reciting the early Ethiopian language, Ge'ez with a young group of deacons. Ge'ez is now only used in present day by the church. Here's a raw video of it:

9: This life-size hand-carved crucifix was covered when we arrived, but the priest was nice enough to give us a peak. Between the priest and the crucifix is the curtain that conceals the holy of holies, where a replica of the Ark of the Covenant is kept.

10: Every church or monastery I have visited in Ethiopia has a set of Kebero drums such as these examples. The drums are used at ceremonies and other important religious events. They are made from animal skin stretched over a wooden body. They are worn slung over the shoulder, and have both a large surface and small surface that can be beat upon with either hand. For me, the drums offer a distinct African flavor to their sect of Christianity.

Thanks for dropping by!  I hope that you enjoyed my travel photos and commentary, and will return for more travel content in the future.

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Great post and I LOVE the photos!! Never been to Ethiopia but have heard such wonderful stories.

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed them!

Pretty interesting how people keep preserving all the old antiques so carefully. Looking at each of them took us to a life that once existed and give us reason to belief many things of past....nice collection and good place to keep visiting

Thanks for dropping by! I'm glad that you enjoyed my post.

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You're killin it with all this great photography of your African adventures! Thanks for posting. That priest is quite a character, and photogenic.

Thank you for your continued support and you're welcome! I really lucked out with my model!

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A 2 hour hike in Ethiopia? That sounds... hot.

Actually during the rainy season it's quite nice when it isn't raining!

Was it long ago? I don't think I would are go out in the wild in a country like that. Not being racist, but being the colour we are could attract unwanted attention.

It was two weeks ago! I'd go there over the top 10 cities in the US as far as feeling safe. I've been to some dangerous places, Northern Ethiopia isn't really one of them if you know how to travel.

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This is dope. I bet it was such a cool experience. Thanks for sharing.

You are most welcome.

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Selam 🙋😊


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