Thumb sm
The Pilgrimage (7 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

In the 1500s, King Lalibela had 11 churches hewn from a 'mother rock' in order to create a holy place underground safe for pilgrims to worship and evade detection. The result was so captivating that the first European to enter the site wrote "I am weary of writing more about these buildings, because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more." Lalibela's vision ensured continued worship for hundreds of years, with masses of the pious still congregating each Christmas. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

Thumb sm
The Pilgrimage (3 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

Pious Ethiopian Orthodox Christians stand above the cross-shaped stone church of Bet Giyorgis. After congregating early in the morning, the pilgrims travel down the stone steps of the church to be blessed by the priest. 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 (2 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

Rows of pilgrims from villages all over Ethiopia file down paths on their way to be blessed by priests and visit the holy site of Lalibela. 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.

Thumb sm
The Pilgrimage (12 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

A young Orthodox Priest takes part in the prayers early in the morning at Bet Giyorgis, the cross-shaped stone church in Lalibela. 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.