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Posted on the 16th of October 2014


Aksum’s most famous legend is rooted in the biblical stories of King Solomon and the legendary Queen of Sheba. Their son, King Melenik I, is said to have brought the Ark of the Covenant to Aksum. And it’s still there, watched over by an unbroken line of Holy Guardians called Nethinim at The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion.

Modern historians believe this story to be a fabrication of later Ethiopian rulers, seeking to give their dynasty a divine legitimacy to rule. They say that unless they can authenticate the Ark, it can’t be considered real.

But the Nethinim weather every attempt from outsiders to examine the Ark. All are turned away, with a quiet dignity and grace. They cannot be bought. From them we can get a tiny glimpse of what the uncorrupted Aksumites might have been like. They’ve learned the lessons of their Aksumite ancestors, of peaceful equanimity and total devotion to a cause.

Because these Nethinim have a very good reason to keep people out:

Their ark is a fake.

Oh, the Ark of the Covenant IS being held in Ethiopia by the descendents of the Aksumites. It’s real, absolutely. But if you did push past the Nethinim at Our Lady Mary of Zion, you’d find an old crate, painted gold. A counterfeit.

The real Ark is somewhere else. And you can bet that Same-El and Ithamar wouldn't let you near it.