Cruel irony of Ethiopia celebrating Epiphany after the Axum massacre

The Chapel of the Tablet in Aksum, Ethiopia claims to be the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. Armed forces under orders from Abiy Ahmed desecrated Aksum.

A special role of the Tigray in Ethiopian Christian history is evident today which is the eve of the Epiphany.  According to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church calendar the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist will be celebrated in a two festival.  On the first day, Ketera (meaning  blocking of waters for celebration) traditionally the congregants lead by the priest escort a tabot, which is a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, to initiate the holiday. On the second day after the celebration the tabot is returned to the church. This shows the continuity between the Jewish roots and Christian traditions in the saga of the Axumite empire.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church began in Tigray in the city of Axum when in the 4th century King Ezana officially adopted Christianity.  Many centuries before the Queen of Sheba of the same area had born a son, Menelik, from the Israeli king Solomon and according to church tradition had brought the original Ark of the Covenant to Axum. 

Between November 19 and 20, 2020 Eritrean invaders came to Axum and killed hundreds of church worshipers. They left the bodies where they lay and did not allow the families to remove the bodies for several days. No doubt this attack was approved by the Ethiopian government. It escapes me how Ethiopians can celebrate this holiday after desecrating the traditional home of the Ark of the Covenant.

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

One thought on “Cruel irony of Ethiopia celebrating Epiphany after the Axum massacre”

  1. Thanks you stand with the truth history will remember you as Tigray people we never forgot what you did for as

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