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Gondar, Debre Birhan Selassie Church

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A short way out of town, Debre Birhan Selassie (Trinity and Mountain of Light) Church seems more like a fortress than a church at first glance. This is because the local churches were once vulnerable to attacks by the Sudanese. There are twelve towers guarding this church, each representing one of the twelve apostles. Debre Birhan Selassie was built by Emperor Eyasu II (also known as Birhan Seged, "He to Whom the Light Bows") in the 17th Century (1682-1706). It was named Debre Birhan, "Mountain of Light," after the Emperor's nickname as well as in honor of the church of the same name in Shewa

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Gondar, Debre Birhan Selassie Church

  1. 1. http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/sandamichaela-2153115-ethiopia24/
  2. 2. Gondar (also spelled Gonder) is a royal and ancient historical city of Ethiopia. It was the home of many emperors and princesses who led the country from the 12th century to the last decade of the 20th century, including Emperor Suseneos, Emperor Fasiledes, Empress Mentwab, Iyasu I, Tewodros II and Empress Taitu. It is the home of the highest mountain in Ethiopia, Ras Dashen (4,550 metres), and the Simien Mountains National Park.
  3. 3. A short way out of town, Debre Birhan Selassie (Trinity and Mountain of Light) Church seems more like a fortress than a church at first glance. This is because the local churches were once vulnerable to attacks by the Sudanese. There are twelve towers guarding this church, each representing one of the twelve apostles.
  4. 4. The seven ostrich eggs on the cross mean that you're supposed to be in church seven days a week. Why ostrich eggs? Because ostriches never leave their eggs and you should never leave the church!
  5. 5. The Debre Birhan Selassie (Trinity and Mountain of Light) Church is famed for its beautiful examples of Ethiopian church art. Built by an emperor and preserved by an archangel, it is also among the most important churches of Ethiopia. Churches like this were once quite common in the area, but this is the only church to survive the Sudanese attacks, making it even more of a treasure.
  6. 6. Jacaranda mimosifolia
  7. 7. The outside of Debre Birhan Selassie is rather plain, but its interior has made it one of Ethiopia's top tourist attractions
  8. 8. Icons of the Holy Trinity (three identical men with halos) and the Crucifixion have pride of place above the entrance to the Holy of Holies.
  9. 9. The walls depict biblical scenes and saints and the ceiling is covered with the faces of 80 Ethiopian Cherubs. All the faces have a different expression
  10. 10. Debre Birhan Selassie was built by Emperor Eyasu II (also known as Birhan Seged, "He to Whom the Light Bows") in the 17th Century (1682-1706). It was named Debre Birhan, "Mountain of Light," after the Emperor's nickname as well as in honor of the church of the same name in Shewa.
  11. 11. At the Debre Birhan Church in Shewa, a miraculous apparition of the Holy Light of God is said to have occured in the Middle Ages during the reign of Emperor Zera Yacob the Great. In exchange for the right of using its name, the Gondar church paid the Shewan church an annual tribute.
  12. 12. The mequamia is the ubiquitous Ethiopian prayer stick, which is used by elderly priests, monks, nuns and churchgoers, but also used during chanting and other liturgical events. The beautiful shape of the head is actually a single branch of a cross whose apices curl into "ram's head" shapes (reference to "the lamb of God), unique to the country.
  13. 13. The Debteras or cantors sing hymns and praise God to the accompaniment of musical instruments, drums, prayer-sticks and sistra.
  14. 14. The Church of Ethiopia is one of the few Churches of Christendom where the worship of the primitive church has been preserved The kebero is a large hand drum used in the Orthodox Christian liturgy
  15. 15. When the Mahdist Dervishes of the Sudan sacked the city of Gondar in 1888, they burned down every church in the city except Debre Birhan Selassie.
  16. 16. According to local legend, when the Mahdist soldiers approached the church, a swarm of bees decended on the compound of the church and kept the soldiers back, and the Archangel Michael himself stood before the large wooden gates with a flaming sword drawn.
  17. 17. Among the many ethnic groups in Ethiopia, the Amhara are the most populous, representing about one-fourth of the population. Their language, Amharic, is the official language of Ethiopia.
  18. 18. The Amhara people are Coptic Monophysite Christians. The population was converted to Christianity in the fourth century AD and their form of the religion has changed very little since its beginnings in Ethiopia.
  19. 19. Ancient Amhara culture had a writing system, and therefore, there is a wealth of texts that have preserved the ancient teachings of Christianity in a language that is not spoken by people today but remains the language of the church. This language is Geez. Since Geez is used only in the context of Amhara Christianity, its function is similar to that of Latin in the Roman Catholic Church.
  20. 20. African white-backed vultures at Debre Birhan Selassie Church Big eagle in Gondar
  21. 21. Sound: Zerfe Kebede - Amanuel Ethiopian Orthodox Mezmur Text: Internet Pictures: Sanda Foişoreanu Sanda Negruţiu Jean Moldovan Alin Samochis Daniel Scrãdeanu Internet Copyright: All the images belong to their authors Presentation: Sanda Foi oreanuş www.slideshare.net/michaelasanda

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