Voices from Russia

Saturday, 6 June 2015

6 June 2015. For By Grace Are Ye Saved

00 Chester Higgins. Ethiopia 01. Ephesians.06.06.15

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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

12 September 2012. VOR Presents… New Jerusalem Ethiopian-Style… or, an Otpust to Lalibela

On 11 September, Ethiopians celebrate the New Year. According to legend, the Queen of Sheba chose this date upon her return from Jerusalem. The queen brought with her good news, which launched a new era for Ethiopia. Currently, perhaps, Ethiopia is the only country in the world that uses the Julian calendar not only for church affairs, but also in secular life. The Ethiopian calendar is behind the one familiar to us by seven years and eight months. Religious services in all the churches, both large and small, herald the Ethiopian New Year… in the early morning people dress in traditional clothes, go to church for services, and, only then, go home to a family meal. We’d like to invite you on the first day of the Ethiopian New Year to come with us to this exotic African country and see one of its main attractions… the churches carved into the living rock at Lalibela.

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Lalibela, located in the mountains in the heart of Ethiopia, is a place of pilgrimage not only for Christians, but for all who are interested in mankind’s historical legacy. Here, far traditional African villages, the Ethiopians built a “New Jerusalem” of monolithic cut right into the living rock at the end of 11th to the early 12th centuries.

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Lalibela was to become a New Jerusalem after the capture of Jerusalem by the Muslims in 1187. The Righteous Holy King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela decreed this role for the city. That is why the location and names of many of the historical monuments of the city repeat the names of the buildings of Jerusalem; even the local river is called the Jordan.

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The Lalibela churches are unique due to the fact that they aren’t built in the usual way; they’re cut into the living rock itself, all in a mountainous region some 2,500 metres (@8,200 feet) above sea level. From ground level, you can only see the top of the entire complex of buildings, which, in addition to churches, grottoes, and labyrinths, includes a whole maze of underground corridors connecting the churches one with another.

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The Church of St George is carved in the form of a cross, it’s located in a deep pit, and its roof is at ground level. You can only gain entrance to the church through a tunnel.

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A fragment of the iconography inside the Church of St George in Lalibela.

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The Ethiopians built the churches by cutting huge trenches into the rock, to a depth of about 12 metres (40 feet), the blocks of rock cut out became the raw material for other churches. Then, the churches in these pits were hollowed out, and were provided with all the customary details such as columns, capitals, ornaments, sculptures, cut-outs, etc.

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Almost all the inhabitants of Lalibela are Christians belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. In the image, we see clergy during a procession.

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The celebration of the Baptism of Our Lord on Epiphany (Timkat) in Lalibela.

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A priest at the entrance to one of the churches of Lalibela.

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There is an ancient Ethiopian legend that explains the rapid rate of construction of the church in only a few years… during the day, people worked on them, at night, angels continued the work.

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A religious procession in Lalibela.

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Welcome to Lalibela!

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11 September 2012

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/photoalbum/87867375/87867386/

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