Moment of truth

Of all the angels, evangelists, martyrs, saints and other characters of the Bible, the Virgin Mary or St. Mary holds a special place in Ethiopian paintings and she is the most drawn subject.

The faith of Ethiopians upon St. Mary is expressed in various ways, for example, some illustrations portray her as a humble, girl of youth, while others portray her as mature and strong, and capable of protecting the Ethiopian people.
The Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church is one of the only Christian churches in the world that were able to preserve its original form of worship from the 4th century.

The country’s geographical location and historical developments has helped it remain isolated from the rest of Christendom, beginning from the 7th century.
The Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church has a circular or octagonal structure with 3 concentric rings.

The Mekdes (Sanctuary) or Qeddusa (Holy of Holies) is located in the innermost part of the Church, which can only be used by priests and deacons. Resting upon a Menbir (alter), the Tabot (Ark of the Covenant) symbolizes the sanctity of the church. The blessing of the Tabot by the Abuna (Head Priest) represents the consecration of the church and without the Tabot residing in the church, services cannot be held.

The 2nd concentric chamber is the Kidist which is where those who receive the Sacrament may enter, though female and male are separated. The Kidist is reserved for those who are pure and regularly fast which is the reason mostly the elderly, infants, and babies are often present.

The 3rd chamber of the church is the outer area or Qene Mahelet (Cantors Place) which is divided into 3 sections by the use of curtains. The western part is given over to the Debteras (Cantors) who sing hymns and praise the Almighty with the use of musical instruments, such as drums, sistra, and prayer sticks.

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