The Ancient Church Forests of Ethiopia
Monolithic churches like the Church of Saint George, Lalibela, I had known about, but not the "the ancient church forests of Ethiopia" until reading the lede of this report — New dominant ant species discovered in Ethiopia shows potential for global invasion. As much as that headline sounds like the movie Them! (1954). I stopped after reading three of my favorite words "ancient," "church," and "forest," followed by one of the world's more interesting countries, and had to learn more.
The image at the top of this post comes from an Africa Geographic Magazine article titled "Ethiopia's Church Forests" in which we learn that "bright-green patches of trees surround 3,500 Orthodox Tewahido Churches – a consequence of the Church’s belief in maintaining a woodland home for all God’s creatures around the place of worship."
"The forests are said to be necklaces around the church, and the tree canopy is believed to prevent prayers from being lost to the sky."
"Ranging in size from five acres to more than 1,000, some of Ethiopia’s church forests are more than 1,500 years old."