Climbing to Faith in Ethiopia – by Jeffrey Walcott


A young priest of just 24 years stands in the entry-way to the Abuna Yemata Guh church in Tigray, northern Ethiopia. The church was hand-carved into a monolithic rock spire 2,500 feet above the valley and is only accessible by scaling vertical walls and traversing 600 foot cliffs.

Photographer Jeffrey Walcott traveled to northern Ethiopia and climbed to a cliff-top church in the Gheratla Mountains.

Looking out on the spires of the Gheralta Mountains from the mouth of the church you have a first-hand view of the majesty that is this world. The passage of time, explicitly visible as sun and shadow play their daily game of cat-and-mouse, makes you feel both incredibly insignificant, but incredibly powerful. You understand that while your role in this world may not be large, you’re a part of it nonetheless, a part of this unending dance of magnificence, grandeur and splendor. While I’m not an overly religious person, I do understand how others would find God in this place.

Read the full story and see more photos on Jeffrey’s blog.


A holy book is held open by a priest inside the cliff church of Abuna Yemata Guh in Tigray, northern Ethiopia.


A young priest at the Abuna Yemata Guh church in northern Ethiopia looks out over the view from just below the entrance to the church carved 2,500 feet above the valley into a monolithic rock face.

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