Ethiopian Orthodox Church Sebket

    ethiopian orthodox

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  • The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን; Transliterated Amharic: Yäityop’ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan) is the predominant Oriental Orthodox Christian church in Ethiopia.


  • A building used for public Christian worship
  • A particular Christian organization, typically one with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrines
  • The hierarchy of clergy of such an organization, esp. the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of England
  • a place for public (especially Christian) worship; “the church was empty”
  • perform a special church rite or service for; “church a woman after childbirth”
  • one of the groups of Christians who have their own beliefs and forms of worship

ethiopian orthodox church sebket

Ethiopian Orthodox Religious Painting, Yeha, Ethiopia

Ethiopian Orthodox Religious Painting, Yeha, Ethiopia
In his Footprint East Africa Handbook, 7th Edition, Michael Hodd identifies the building housing these paintings as an "Iqa-bet, a two-story stone storage building, which contains religious artifacts." The building is next to the Church of Abba Afse, Yeha, Tigray Region, northern Ethiopia.

Right: Virgin Mary and Jesus.

Left: This image had me stumped until I remembered I had seen one like it before in another church in Ethiopia. In that case, the learned flickerite Skibriye explained the imagery to me as follows:

"The Icon shows a scene from the traditon around the founding of the great monastery of Debre Damo. The Monastery in Tigrai is located on top a flat topped mountain with sheer cliffs surrounding it’s summit on all sides. Even today it can only be reached by climbing up the sheer cliffs by ropes. It was founded by a saint named Abune Aregawi who according to the legend, was pulled up to the summit by a great serpent, while protected by angels." Skibriye, again, thank you!

It makes sense this painting would be found in Yeha, which is not far from Debre Damo. In fact, Debre Damo is the next town up the road from Yeha; Debre Damo is the last settlement on the road before Adigrat, the capital of the Tigray Region.

The painting Skibriye was discussing appears below for reference. The similarities and differences are interesting.

I do not have information about the dates or provenance of the paintings shown above.


Most Ethiopians who live outside the modern capital city, Addis Ababa, live in round mud-plastered houses with cone-shaped roofs of thatched straw. In areas where stone is plentiful, the houses may be rectangular stone houses. The churches in Ethiopia echo the shape of the houses. In many parts of the country there are ancient churches carved out of solid volcanic rock. Modern churches are built in three concentric circles.