Michael Kenning, as part of his ongoing placement in Ethiopia was able to take time to visit, Lalibela and the world famous Rock-Hewn Churches.
The eleven medieval monolithic cave churches of this 13th-century 'New Jerusalem' are situated in a mountainous region in the heart of Ethiopia near a traditional village with circular-shaped dwellings. Lalibela is a high place of Ethiopian Christianity, still today a place of pilgrimage and devotion.
Michael's visit to Lalibela is both a retreat and study trip to explore the spiritually of the Ethiopian Orthodox church.
I spent yesterday afternoon and all day today exploring the stone churches of Lalibela with my guide Asafa. I first heard of Lalibela about 15 years ago when I read Stuart Munro - Hays' history of Ethiopia and was astonished by what I read. I longed to see the ancient stone churches in real life, but never for a moment thought I would ever get to visit them. The last day and a half therefore have been a great privilege. Lalibela is truly unique. But it's also not for the unfit - there's a lot of climbing and clambering and dark tunnels to wander through. I also don’t think the stone churches would pass muster with the Irish Health and Safety Authority - there are precipitous drops everywhere without any railings. It is not a place for people afraid of heights. But that's what makes it fun - none of that European obsession with safety!