So this is the last blog post of the module… Honestly having some mixed feelings here.
Even though it takes me much more pain, time and effort to write up these blog posts compared to the ones in my own blog, I must say it has been a fulfilling journey of learning to find out about things more intentionally.
Seldom do I get pushed out of my comfort zone (but actually, it really is just pure laziness) to find out about something that sparked my interest. Many times, that moment of interest will soon be forgotten and there goes the opportunity that I could have learn something.
OK NO NO, before I rattle off my feelings and emotions as if this is my private blog, l shall go on to my topic of the day right awayyyyyyyyy!
So as usual, I was thinking of what I can talk about, again (this is like the question of the century, really), and suddenly, I got reminded of something interesting I heard in class just today.
But nah, not going to play the guessing game with you today.
SO, presenting to you:
(However, after reading up on Biete Ghiorgis, I feel there is not much meaningful information available; hence, I decided to find out about this particular type of church in Ethiopia as a whole.)
King Lalibela and his churches
In the mountainous region of a town called Lalibela that is in the heart of Ethiopia, there exists 11 churches today in which the building of these churches have been specially attributed to their king then, King Lalibela. Biete Ghiorgis is one of these churches.
Hmm... Why were these churches attributed to their king? What is so special about these 11 churches?
Well, in the 12th century, King Lalibela was the one who set out to construct a symbol of the holy land (Jerusalem), where Christian pilgrimages could (hopefully) be made possible without the Christians having to risk their lives. This was after the Muslims conquering Jerusalem, which was the original holy land.
Because King Lalibela was the one who call for the Second Jerusalem to be built, the world today attributes the creation of these 11 churches to him.
Also, these churches are so special because...
THEY ARE CARVED OUT OF ROCKS.
Yes, I totally am serious. It was unbelievable for me too because… just imagine the amount of spatial imagination, planning and time needed to do it??!?! For each church built, it is essentially one piece of stone shaped inside out!!!!
Yeah, that is really some high-leveled skills and devotion right there. But it was not for no-reason that they decided to build the churches in such a tedious manner.
Birth of monolithic cave churches
Back then, Lalibela feared further invasions of the Muslims. So he thought of building the churches below the surface of the ground by carving the churches out of the rocks in the mountains, so that when viewed from lower planes in the mountainous regions, the enemies would not be able to see the churches.
In addition, the strategic construction of those 11 churches had proven itself effective when Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi led a Muslim invasion in Ethiopia in the sixteenth century. Then, he only claimed to have destroyed one stone church without mentioning about the 11 churches at all. WHOOHOO!
I think it was super brilliant of King Lalibela to have thought of building the churches like that. Also, he was brave enough to have thought of that because the amount of effort, time and perhaps, manpower, needed seem daunting and impossible already. Yet, King Lalibela had the courage to carry out this mission.
It is in this impossibility that we can precisely imagine how much devotion King Lalibela and his society had in that religion that they believed in, also known as Christianity.
And also, it made me ponder on what influence and importance must Christianity have had on the society in Lalibela that it led to such devotion in the people's creation of these churches.
Faith in a belief is needed to sustain people, people need faith in order to sustain their belief.
Faith sustains us. Where have you placed your faith in today?