Sects: The Ancient, Serene Ethiopian Church

For the 10 million Coptic Christians of Ethiopia, one of the spiritual high points of the year is the feast of St.

Gabriel the Archangel. Last week 100,000 pilgrims made their way to the shrine of St. Gabriel at Kulubi, in the jagged mountains 200 miles east of Addis Ababa, for a festival that is al most without parallel in the Christian world.

While bearded priests intoned prayers and blessings over blaring loudspeakers, pilgrims dressed in lionskins paraded around the gold-domed shrine, chanting, wailing, beating drums, and imploring the archangel to answer their prayers in return for offerings of jewelry, cash,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!