Craters Of Man’s Devotion

StG Ethiopia

Some snapshots of my Ethiopian expedition, just ended, are in order; not of the national parks which were the main purpose of the expedition–more on which later–but from the visit to the north which is where most visitors to Ethiopia currently make a sort of pilgrimage for reasons you can understand looking at these snapshots.

It would be difficult for any photo to do justice to this wonder, a church created by men 1,000 years ago by carving down into the stone mountain. But words are even less helpful for reasons you can probably best understand by seeing another view of the same, following what the UNESCO World Heritage Centre has to say about this and the other churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia:

…The churches were not constructed in a traditional way but rather were hewn from the living rock of monolithic blocks. These blocks were further chiselled out, forming doors, windows, columns, various floors, roofs etc. This gigantic work was further completed with an extensive system of drainage ditches, trenches and ceremonial passages, some with openings to hermit caves and catacombs…

StG 2

As impressive as those craters in Siberia may be, they pale compared to what man can do when he is sufficiently motivated, which may be the one source of hope for addressing the challenges of climate change (one of the seemingly impossible challenges of our own time). This modern challenge, now that I think of it, seems particularly well-suited to the beliefs many hold, across various religious traditions, about the saint who is the namesake of this particular church.

Historically speaking this George who was later sainted was originally a man who served as a soldier in Rome’s army two thousand years ago; when sainted, according to most traditions, he is credited with slaying a dragon, which can be understood as a miracle of sorts. In the photo below the priest who serves the St George church in Lalibela stands next to an iconic representation of that slaying (note the beauty of the carpet on which the priest stands, which is just one minor additional reason to visit the church) and since the image is cut off in this photo, an alternate icon image is provided below this one.

StG 3

This, in one of Lalibela’s other rock-hewn churches, shows St. George in classic fashion, but as per the tradition of the day it is on a fabric made from animal skin. For believers in the powers of this Saint, may they be invoked for a good cause 1,000 years after the icon below was created, and 2,000 years after the man was sainted. Never a better time to welcome a dragon-slayer…

StG 4

8 thoughts on “Craters Of Man’s Devotion

    • Hi Rebecca,
      thanks so much for your kind nomination. As we’re a collective of writers we avoid participating in the awards, as the requirements are usually more appropriate to an individual. We greatly appreciate your gesture and hope you continue to visit and enjoy our site. See you soon! Cheers.

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