A priest looks through the only window of the Abuna Yemata church (Nigel Pavitt)
List 31 March

Photo gallery: Ethiopia's amazing rock churches and the people who worship there

Dating back as far as the 5th century, Ethiopia's extraordinary rock churches continue to astound visitors and provide solace and inspiration for worshippers, monks and priests

Church of Saint George, Lalibela (Nigel Pavitt)

Church of Saint George, Lalibela (Nigel Pavitt)

A priest reads his prayer book on the west porch of Bete Maryam in Lalibela (Nigel Pavitt)

A priest reads his prayer book on the west porch of Bete Maryam in Lalibela (Nigel Pavitt)

A priest with a 15th-century ceremonial fan in Abuna Abraham, Gheralta Mountains (Nigel Pavitt)

A priest with a 15th-century ceremonial fan in Abuna Abraham, Gheralta Mountains (Nigel Pavitt)

Three monks in the church ambulatory of Maryam Hibito (Nigel Pavitt)

Three monks in the church ambulatory of Maryam Hibito (Nigel Pavitt)

Monks at the entrance of Debre Damo monastery (Nigel Pavitt)

Monks at the entrance of Debre Damo monastery (Nigel Pavitt)

At Debre Damo monastery, monks have to pull themselves up to the entrance using a plaited leather rope.
Priests wearing colourful headresses during Timkat, the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany (Nigel Pavitt)

Priests wearing colourful headresses during Timkat, the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany (Nigel Pavitt)

A priest stands by the baptismal pool at Selassie Degum (Nigel Pavitt)

A priest stands by the baptismal pool at Selassie Degum (Nigel Pavitt)

Inside Debre Berhan Selassie Church (Nigel Pavitt)

Inside Debre Berhan Selassie Church (Nigel Pavitt)

Worshippers holding tapers outside the sanctuary of St Mary of Zion (Nigel Pavitt)

Worshippers holding tapers outside the sanctuary of St Mary of Zion (Nigel Pavitt)

The abbott and a senior monk with one of the ancient manuscripts in Abba Garima Monastery near Adwa (Nigel Pavitt)

The abbott and a senior monk with one of the ancient manuscripts in Abba Garima Monastery near Adwa (Nigel Pavitt)

Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom features photographs by Nigel Pavitt, Frederic Courbet, Justus Mulinge, Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher and is published by The American University in Cairo Press.

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