Tuesday, 10 February 2009

BBC: Lalibela's Bet Maryam

Photo ©Karoki Lewis-All Rights Reserved

I'm not too fond of the BBC these days as a result of its unconscionable decision not to air the Gaza appeal, however it has recently published an interesting audio slideshow with photographs and audio by Karoki Lewis, and produced by Phil Coomes

As part of a series looking at religious pilgrimages around the world, Karoki recorded the all night ceremony at Bet Maryam (Church of the Virgin Mary) in Lalibela, Ethiopia, as they celebrated Orthodox Christmas in early January.

I recall being in Lalibela during Epiphany in 2004, and being part of, and photographing the pre-dawn rituals of the ancient celebration was an unforgettable experience. Ethiopian Christianity dates back to the 4th century, and as the festival of Epiphany nears, Lalibela’s population swells with 60 thousand pilgrims.

I visited the beautiful cross-shaped Church of St. George, but the awning that is visible in the slideshow wasn't there...so it must be a new addition. It certainly preserves the stone church from the elements, but it's also hideous.

(Via duckrabbit multimedia)