Addis Amba Mädhané Aläm: the Uncommon TroglodyticHeritage of Ethiopia


Ethiopia is one of the few African countries that have preserved the antiquities of early and medieval Christianity. The cave church of Addis Amba Mädhané Aläm (the church of Saviour of the World), is one of the little known troglodytic heritages found in Mäqét, North Wällo. This study aims to uncover the historical, architectural and artistic values of the cave church that has unique cultural testimonies.
Data for the study were collected through fieldwork, interviews, and archival consultations. The cave is believed to have been excavated by Musé, the second bishop of Ethiopia. The church has six different caves cut into a rock face. Five of them are chapels, treasuries and gusting rooms. This paper discusses the cave which is the church of Mädhané Aläm. It has a complex layout compartmented into chanting room, holy and sanctuary. The holy and sanctuary form the nave which is rock-hewn monolithic feature detached from the main rock except on its roof and base. This planning is uncommon in the rock cave church tradition of Ethiopia because the nave is monolithically carved within a cave that should not be confused with churches built under a natural cave. The old enough canopy, a large artistic processional umbrella permanently projected over the chanting place also distinguishes this cave church. This is an indigenous piece of handcraft crafted locally from the bark of a tree. It is painted with different symbols and saint icons. The cave is also home to archaic mural paintings.

Słowa kluczowe

dziedzictwo człowieka jaskiniowego; Addis Amba Mädhané Aläm; historia; architektura sztuka

Buxton, D. (1947). The Christian antiquities of Northern Ethiopia. Archaeologia, 92, 1–42. Oxford, Soc. of Antiquaries of London.

Buxton, D. (1971). The Rock-hewn and other medieval churches of Tigre Province, Ethiopia. Archaeologia, 103, 33–100.

Buxton, D., Matthews, D. (1974). The reconstruction of vanished Aksumite buildings. Rassegna di studi etiopici, 25, 53–77.

Crummey, D. (1975). Çäçäho and the politics of Northern Wällo and Bägémder border. Journal of Ethiopian studies, 13 (1), 1–9.

Fiaccadori, G. (2007). Muse. W: S. Uhlig (red.), Encyclopedia Aethiopica. T. 3 s. 1080–1081). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Findlay, L. (1943). The Monolithic Churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia. Cairo: La Société d’ Archéologie.

Gerster, G. (1970). Churches in Rock: Early Christian Art in Ethiopia. London: Phaidon Press Ltd.

Jager, O., Pearce, I. (1974). Antiquities in North Ethiopia. Stuttgart.

Huntingford, G. W. B. (1965). The Wealth of Kings’ and the End of the Zāguē Dynasty.

Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 28 (1), 1–23.

Kidane Girma, Hecht, D. E. (1983). Ethiopia’s Rock Hewn Churches of Lālibalā. Ambio, 12 (3--4), 210–212. Springer on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Lubke, A. (1958). The World of Caves. New York: Coward-McCann.

Lule Melaku (2008). History of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Part I. Addis Ababa.

McGrath, R. (1925). Lalibela. The Geographical Journal, 66 (6), 507–518. The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).

Meinardus, O. F. A. (1999). Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press.

Mengistu Gobezie (2004). Lalibela and Yimrehane Kirstos: The Living Witnesses of Zagwe Dynasty. Addis Ababa: Alpha Printers.

Mengistu Gobezie (2011). Yimrhane Kirstos: A Bridge between Axum and Lalibela Civilizations. Addis Ababa: Ymirhane Kiristos Church Parish Council.

Mengistu Gobezie (2018). The Church of Yimrhane Kirstos: An Archaeological Investigation. Ph.D. Disssertation. Faculity of Humanities and Theology, Lund University.

Mercier, J., Lepage, C. (2012). Lalibela-Wonder of Ethiopia: The Monolithic churches and Their Treasures. London: Paul Halberton Publishing.

Nosnitsin, D. (2007). Minas. W: S. Uhlig (red.), Encyclopedia Aethiopica. T. 3 (s. 971–972). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Pankhurst, S. (1960). The monolithic churches of Lalibela: one of the wonders of the world. Ethiopia Observer 4, 214–228.

Phillipson, D. (2009). Ancient Churches of Ethiopia: Fourth-Fourteenth Centuries. New Haven – London: Yale University Press.

Rodley, L. (1989). Cave monasteries of Byzantine Cappadocia. The American Historical Review 94 (2), 425–426.

Sergew Hable Selassie (1970). The Expansion and consolidation of Christianity. W:

The Church of Ethiopia: A Panorama of History and Spiritual Life (s. 7–10). Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Schuster, H. M. (1994). Hidden sanctuaries of Ethiopia. Archaeology 47 (1), 28–35.

Taddesse Tamrat (1972). Church and State in Ethiopia: 1270–1527. London: Oxford University Press.

Tsegaye Ebabey (2014). A Survey of Rock Hewn Churches in Mäqét Wäräda, North Wällo. Unpublished MA Thesis. Addis Ababa: Department of Archaeology Addis Ababa University.

Tsegaye Ebabey (2016). Long forgotten rock-cut churches in North Wällo Zone, Mäqét Wäräda: the case of Nazugn Maryam. W: The Proceeding of the 2nd Annual Research Conference (s. 1–26). Ethiopia: Woldia University.

Tsegaye Ebabey (2018). The rock-hewn church of Nazugn Maryam: an example of the endangered antiquities in North Wollo, Ethiopia. Journal of African Cultural Heritage Studies 1 (1), 1–21. DOI: httpdoi.org10.22599jachs.34.

Witakowska, E. B. (2010). Waša Mikaʼel. W: S. Uhlig (red.), Encyclopedia Aethiopica. T. 4 (s. 1150–1151). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Witakowska, E. B. (2014). Yädǝbba Maryam. W: A. Bausi (red.), Encyclopedia Aethiopica. T. 5 (s. 3–4). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Wright, S. (1957). Notes on some cave churches in the provinces of Wollo. Journal of Annales D’ethiopie II, 7–11.

Opublikowane : 2019-03-05

DEMISSIE, T. E. (2019). Addis Amba Mädhané Aläm: the Uncommon TroglodyticHeritage of Ethiopia. Warszawskie Studia Teologiczne, 32(2), 104-121.

Tsegaye Ebabey DEMISSIE 
Tsegaye Ebabey DemissieCollege of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hawass a University, Ethiopia Department of Anthropology  Etiopia

Tsegaye Ebabey DEMISSIE – tytuł licencjata z historii uzyskał na Uniwersytecie Debre Markos w Etiopii w 2010 r., a tytuł magistra archeologii na Uniwersytecie w Addis Ababa w Etiopii w 2014 r. W latach 2011-2018 wykładał na Wydziale Historii i Zarządzania Dziedzictwem na Uniwersytecie Dilla w Etiopii, od 2018 r. pracuje jako wykładowca archeologii na Wydziale Archeologii, Kolegium Nauk Społecznych i Humanistycznych na Uniwersytecie Hawassa w Etiopii. Jego zainteresowania badawcze obejmują: archeologię historyczną, historię chrześcijaństwa i jego kulturowe dziedzictwo, zarządzanie dziedzictwem kulturowym, dziedzictwo niematerialne i inne pokrewne zagadnienia.

Creative Commons License

Utwór dostępny jest na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa – Bez utworów zależnych 4.0 Międzynarodowe.

Czasopismo jest bezpłatne i udostępniane na zasadach otwartego dostępu (w formacie pdf na stronie internetowej). Od autorów artykułów nie są pobierane żadne opłaty. „Warszawskie Studia Teologiczne” ukazują się na licencji według standardów Creative Commons: CC BY-ND 4.0 (Uznanie autorstwa - Bez utworów zależnych 4.0 Międzynarodowe) i nie prowadzą skonkretyzowanej polityki dotyczącej danych badawczych. Autorzy zachowują prawa autorskie.