Holy Trinity Cathedral

On our second day with Yuhn of Liyu Tours I wanted to visit the two main churches in Addis, Holy Trinity Cathedral and St. George Cathedral, not least because I wanted to see Sylvia Pankhurst’s grave.  We went to Holy Trinity first. This massive and ornate cathedral is rectangular in shape, built to resemble the Ark of the Covenant.  It was constructed to commemorate Ethiopia’s liberation from Italian occupation and is the second most important place of worship for the Ethiopian Orthodox religion, after the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Aksum.  The exterior incorporates a flamboyant mixture of international styles, resulting in a visual feast for the visitor.

The cathedral’s exterior

The cathedral’s interior

Inside, we were struck by the beautiful stained glass windows telling the most famous stories from the Bible.  There was also a plaque ‘dedicated by his Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, to the memory of those British officers and other ranks who, together with Ethiopian patriots, sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Ethiopia 1940 – 1942’.  We were also able to view the massive Aksumite-style granite tombs of Haile Selassie himself and his wife, Empress Menen Asfaw.

Adam and Eve

The nativity

The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist
Plaque dedicated to British soldiers

Haile Selassie’s tomb

In the grounds of the cathedral, there is a museum full of religious artefacts which we were shown around by a very knowledgeable guide.  At the end of our visit, I felt that I understood much more about the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, something which was to stand me in good stead as we embarked on our trip around northern Ethiopia.

St George Cathedral

Our second church of the day was St. George Cathedral, an octagonal building erected in the early years of the 20th century to commemorate Ethiopia’s first defeat of the Italians at Adwa in 1896.  It was here that Emperor Haile Selassie was crowned in 1930.  The museum in the grounds was well worth a visit.

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