Thumb sm
The Pilgrimage (19 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
31 Dec 2012

Pilgrims rest in the evening near the holy rock churches of Lalibela. In anticipation for the coming Christmas celebration, thousands of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians set up camp in the days leading up to the event. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

Thumb sm
The Pilgrimage (14 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
31 Dec 2012

A pilgrim returns to the camp near Lalibela's rock churches. Thousands of the pious will sleep on the fields in anticipation for the upcoming Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas celebration. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

Thumb sm
The Pilgrimage (22 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
30 Dec 2012

A group of young Ethiopian Orthodox Christians read from a bible during a morning prayer service at one of Lalibela's holy rock churches. Pilgrims flock to the area for the Orthodox Christmas celebrations. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

Thumb sm
The Pilgrimage (18 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
30 Dec 2012

A lone pilgrim reads from the bible along the stone pathways linking Lalibela's 11 stone churches. Built after the 1187 invasion of Saladin, the church complex hides below the ground in order to evade detection. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

Thumb sm
The Pilgrimage (15 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

A pilgrim enters one of Lalibela's rock churches. Hewn from the mountain, these churches were originally built below ground to evade detection. Called the 'Petra of Africa' due to its striking similarity to Jordan's Petra complex, this site relatively unknown (outside of Ethiopia) draws thousands of pilgrims each year for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas celebration. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

Thumb sm
The Pilgrimage (8 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

Wrapped in shrouds of early morning mist and cotton, Ethiopian Orthodox Christians stand in prayer at the edge of Bet Giyorgis, the rock church carved to resemble a cross. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, in the small town of Lalibela, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

Thumb sm
The Pilgrimage (4 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

Resting against the rock face of the church, an Orthodox Christian is caught in a moment of contemplation. Each of the underground churches contain a thick and richly colored curtain hiding a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, viewed only by priests, deacons and bishops. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, in the small town of Lalibela, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

Thumb sm
The Pilgrimage (1 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

Pilgrims make their way through a key-hole opening in the rock churches of Lalibela during an annual voyage for Orthodox Christmas. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, in the small town of Lalibela, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.