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Церковь Пресвятой Девы Марии Сиона, Аксум

Самая священная святыня Эфиопии — Церковь Пресвятой Девы Марии Сиона 17-ого столетия в Аксуме, в которой согласно преданию находится священный Ковчег. Поблизости расположена более новая и большая церковь, также известная как церковь Пресвятой Девы Марии Сиона.

История

Хотя существующее здание относительно ново, у Церкви Пресвятой Девы Марии Сиона есть древняя история. В 4-ом столетии, принц Эзана Аксумит принял христианство благодаря проповедям двух сирийский монахов, потерпевших кораблекрушение на побережье Красного моря. Принц стал продвигать Христианство, когда он был возведен на трон и стал королем Эзана; его считают святым и в Эфиопской Православной Церкви, и в Католической Церкви. Именно в это время, в 300-ых годах нашей эры, Церковь Пресвятой Девы Марии была построена в Аксуме. Эта церковь стояла в течение сотен лет и была замечена португальским монахом незадолго до своего разрушения в 16-ом столетии. Франсиско Альварес (Francisco Alvarez) написал о ней в своем журнале:

В городе Аксуме мы нашли благородную церковь; она является очень большой, и имеет пять нефов, все пространства святилища (и потолок, и стены) покрыты иконами; у этой церкви есть хор, убранство которого соответствует нашему [европейскому] стилю…

Некоторые эксперты полагают, что эта большая церковь в Аксуме служила моделью для Бет Медхане Алем, одной из самых внушительных вырезанных в скале церквей в Лалибела. Аксум был первым христианским королевством в мире и самым большим соседом Римской империи. Расположенный на торговых маршрутах караванов к Аравии, Нубии и Египту, Аксум торговал с Грецией, Римом и Константинополем. В конце 5-ого столетия, Христианство было распространено через миссионеров из Восточной Римской империи среди простых людей королевства. Миссионеры придерживались Монофизической доктрины природы Христа после того, как она была отвергнута как ересь Халсидийским Советом в 451 году, но эта доктрина остается частью Эфиопского и Коптского Православия в настоящее время. При короле 6-ого столетия — Калебе (также известном, как Святой Калеб) Аксум стал центром военной мощи, и король Аксума взял на себя роль защитника христиан в окружающих областях, включая Аравию. Калеб завоевал несколько маленьких еврейских королевств в Аравии, что привело к тому, что еврейские традиции нашли свое отражение в традициях Эфиопской Православной Церкви (ЭПЦ), и все еще они могут быть замечены сегодня.

В 1635 году, Пресвятая Дева Мария Сиона была восстановлена Императором Фасилидасом на месте руин более древней церкви, которая была разрушена мусульманами, и это и есть церковь, которую мы видим сегодня. В середине 1500-ых годов силы Ахмеда Грана перешли через Африканский Рог из Харэра с востока, какое-то время, угрожая исчезновением Христианству в Эфиопии. Разрушение и восстановление церкви стали важными вехами в истории Христианства Эфиопии. Окруженная исламскими странами, перенесшая множество нападений, несколько раз, будучи на грани исчезновения, Эфиопия осталась христианским государством, где Эфиопская Православная Церковь занимает важное место в жизни общества. В настоящее время ЭПЦ считается единственным оплотом Христианства против Ислама в Северной Африке. Пресвятая Дева Мария Сиона символизирует борьбу и триумфы не только церкви, но и народа Эфиопии. Императоры Эфиопии все были коронованы здесь. До 1930-ых годов преступники могли получить убежище в окрестностях церкви, позвонив  в звонок на подъезде. В 1955 году, чтобы отметить свой Серебряный Юбилей, Император Хайле Селасси основал новую Церковь Пресвятой Девы Марии Сиона рядом со старой. В 1964 году строительство новой церкви было завершено. Император Селасси прервал государственный визит в Эфиопию королевы Елизаветы II, чтобы посетить освящение Собора. Британский монарх посетил церковь Пресвятой Девы Марии Сиона несколько дней спустя. В отличие от старой церкви, в новую — могут входить женщины.

В 1965 году, Селасси построил часовню рядом со старой церковью Пресвятой Девы Марии, чтобы содержать там церковные сокровища и Ковчег. Аксум был в зоне сражений во время освободительной войны против центрального правительства в 1980-ых годах. Марксистские силы обвинялись в разграблении 83 церквей в области и убийстве многих священников, но к счастью древние святыни Аксума не были серьезно повреждены.

Описание

Камни фундамента церкви 4-ого столетия могут все еще быть замечены на участке. Архитектура старой церкви Пресвятой Девы Марии Сиона 17-ого столетия содержит детали, традиционно встречающиеся в сирийской архитектуре. Это — приземистая, квадратная структура, окруженная колоннадой, вокруг которой танцуют священники во время религиозных процессий. У церкви есть зубчатые, подобные крепости стены, которые отражают прошлое этого места, а интерьер церкви полон красочных фресок и картин. Паломники мужского пола не могут пойти дальше вестибюля, и женщинам разрешено войти только во внутренний двор. Во время литургий область вокруг маленькой церкви быстро наполняется толпами верующих, чьи звучные пения слышны со всех концов. На фасаде церкви есть большая икона, изображающая Святую Троицу, Двенадцать Апостолов, и Двенадцать Племен Израиля.

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