Adventure Pilgrimage: Ark of the Covenant
A few weeks ago I had the blessed opportunity to engage in an adventure pilgrimage to be at the location where the locals have a strong and long tradition that the Ark of the Covenant rests in a church in Axum, Ethiopia. The tradition holds that the Ark of the Covenant is at St Mary of Zion Church in Axum. This tradition is based on actual historical facts and all indications demonstrate that the Ark is inside St Mary of Zion Church. Although many locations around the globe have been indicated to have the Ark, such as in Egypt, underground in Jerusalem, or even in England, no other location as Axum comes close in terms of historical evidence, tradition, and faith.What is the Ark? God ordered Moses to build the Ark in order to place the tables of the Law – the Ten Commandments. The Ark of the Covenant was a kind of chest, measuring two cubits and a half in length, a cubit and a half in breadth, and a cubit and a half in height. Made of setim wood (an incorruptible acacia), it was overlaid within and without with the purest gold, and a golden crown or rim ran around it. At the four corners, very likely towards the upper part, four golden rings had been cast; through them
Upon it had been place two cherubim of beaten gold, looking towards each other, and spreading their wings so that both sides of the propitiatory were covered. What exactly these cherubim were, is impossible to determine; however, from the analogy with Egyptian religious art, it may well be supposed that they were images, kneeling or standing, of winged persons. It is worth noticing that this is the only exception to the law forbidding the Israelites to make carved images, an exception so much the more harmless to the faith of the Israelites in a spiritual God because the Ark was regularly to be kept behind the veil of the sanctuary.
Famous journalist and adventurer, Graham Hancock, researched the history of the Ark. Following exacting research and travels, he pinpoints the location of the Ark to Axum, Ethiopia. He traced the path of the Ark from Jerusalem, to Elephantine Island in the Nile, down south the Nile River, to Tama Kirkos, and then finally to Axum, Ethiopia.
The adventure pilgrimage was amazing and a blessing. But also most amazing is that I had the unique opportunity to meet the Guardian Monk of the Ark. I kissed his Holy Cross, the same Cross that faces the Ark daily. The Guardian Monk of the Ark is a holy monk of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the only person that can see the Ark. No one else in the world can see the Ark. This Guardian Monk – once selected to oversee the Ark – cannot leave the grounds of St Mary of Zion Church. He is forever to stay at the church.