Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bet Giorghis, Lalibela

This church in Lalibela, Ethiopia is fittingly dedicated to the Patron Saint of the country, Saint George. The church is an impressive feat of architecture because of its practically perfect cube shape that was hewn into a cross. Worshippers would enter through the west and the Holy Eucharist would be kept at the east end of the church. The roof decoration is three equilateral relief crosses echoing the shape of the building itself. The majesty and uniqueness of the church is enhanced by its location in the bottom of a hewn pit and the access to the pit via a carved tunnel through the rock. 

Legend has it that Ethiopian king, Lalibela, was completing his God-given mission of building churches around his country when St. George came to him (whether in a dream or in person, it does not specify) and expressed his disappointment in the king for failing to build him a church or a "home." King Lalibela obviously sought to right this immediately and built the most beautiful church for St. George. Centering the design around one of the symbols of Christian salvation has surely pleased the saint. 

No comments:

Post a Comment