Recently I came upon…[a] photo of worshippers gathered for Mass in Ethiopia…“WHAT?” I thought. “Where is this?!”
And so began my research into the fantastic rock-cut underground churches in Lalibela.
In the twelfth century, King Lalibela, a member of the Zagwe dynasty which had seized the throne of Ethiopia around 1000 A.D., sought support from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. To garner support, he commissioned a series of twelve extraordinary churches in the small town of Roha (now renamed Lalibela). He hoped to create a New Jerusalem, a pilgrimage site for Christians who could not make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.