Debre Gishen

September 30, 2021

Set at elevation of 3,019 meter above sea level in Ambasel woreda, some 80 kilo meters northwest of Dessie, Wollo and 480 km north of Addis Ababa lays a cross-shaped mountain. It is one of the ancient, most sacred monasteries in Ethiopia, popularly known as the second Jerusalem, “Debre Gishen”

Gishen is home to four churches: Gishen Maryam, Saint Gabriel, Saint Michael and God, the Holy Father (Egziabher Ab). This holy place is where the sanctioning of a piece of the “True Cross” took place in 325 E.C.  Holy Church celebrates this festivity annually on October 1st.

According to manuscripts of Ethiopian Orthodox Incarnation Church, it is the date whereby Emperor Zara Yaqob (1434–1468) brought a piece of the “True Cross” on which Lord Jesus Christ was crucified to “Gishen Amba” and buried it under the church of God, the Holy Father, (Egziabher Ab) where it remains to this day and it is also the monthly commemoration date of Saint Mary. The Ethiopian Orthodox Incarnation Church celebrates recurrently the discovery of the True Cross on September 27th and the lodging of the piece of the True Cross at Gishen Debre Kerbe on October 1. Holy Church solemnizes the festival of the Holy Cross commemorating its historical background and holds it as her power and seal of salvation.

History has in scripted after our Country Ethiopia became amongst those powerful countries received and kept the portion of the Holy Cross, Emperor Zera Yacob explored and after experiencing spiritual revelation, in search of a cross shaped topography in Ethiopia where he was led by a light to Gishen.

The Cross is known in Amharic as “Gimade Meskel which was then placed in Gishen. The Holy Church of Egziabhier Ab (translates to God the father) stood, for over many hundreds of years now, where the cross is kept; Church of Saint Virgin Mary standing adjacent to it.

The findings of the ‘True Cross’ is the symbolization of Hope for all Christians in the name of Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, laities gather around from different part of the country for the pilgrimage to “Gishen”   in commemorating the festivity of the Sanctioning of the ‘True Cross.’

Glory to God who is glorified in His Life-giving Cross, Amen!