Palm Sunday Celebrations
While many Christians in the world recognized Easter last Sunday, the Ethiopian Orthodox will celebrate Easter this Sunday. Beginning on Palm Sunday (shown in the video) until Good Friday every day has special services. This week is called Semune Himamat - a week of agony and suffering. No matter when or if you celebrate Easter we wish you a happy and peaceful day.
Sof Omar Cave
From the +4,000 meter heights of the Bale Mountains, the Web River descends nearly 3000 meters in elevation as it flows east and enters Holqa Sof Omar, a 15 kilometer long network of caves.
Currently on UNESCO’s list of proposed World Heritage Sites, Holqa Sof Omar is described by UNESCO: "In this realm of dry, cool caves nature has worked a marvel of architecture — soaring pillars of stone twenty meters (66 feet) high, flying buttresses, fluted arch ways, and tall airy vaults. Finally the river itself is reached, a sunless sea flowing through a deep gorge."
Named for the Muslim saint who took refuge there in the 11th century, Sof Omar is an important shrine not just for Muslims but has long been a sacred place for Oromo local religions.
Sof Omar is most easily reached from Goba (a gateway town to the Bale Mountains National Park) about 120 kilometers away. The drive will take about 3 hours so it's best to camp near the caves if you want to thoroughly explore them.
Photos courtesy of Jamal Kassim
Covenant of Mercy
On 16 of Yekatit 2014 of the Ethiopian Orthodox Calendar (23 February 2022) was the annual “Covenant of Mercy.” These scenes are from the famous Ura Kidane Mehiret Monastery located on the Zege Peninsula of Lake Tana near the Ethiopia town of Bahar Dar.
During this procession, the “Tabot” of the church is carried outside. Every Ethiopian Orthodox Church has a Tabot, a representation of the Ark of the Covenant which sanctifies the church building. In the video, you can see a priest with the Tabot balanced on his head and wrapped in purple fabrics as no-one other than the head priest may lay eyes on the actual Tabot.
Video and photos by Ayinekulu Mulugeta.