World’s oldest illustrated Christian manuscript found in Ethiopian monasteryJuly 6th, 2010 - 5:38 pm ICT by ANI
London, July 6 (ANI): A coloured manuscript found in a remote Ethiopian monastery could be the oldest illustrated Christian work in the world, experts have claimed.
The 1,600 year-old texts are named after a monk, Abba Garima, who arrived in Ethiopia in the fifth century.
The legend says that he copied out the Gospels in just one day after founding the Garima Monastery, near Adwa in the north of the country.
The Ethiopian Heritage Fund has conserved the vividly illustrated pages and it is hoped that the two volumes will be made available to visitors to the monastery, which is in discussions to start a museum there.
Illustrations of the saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all included in the book along with what may be the first ever Christian illustration of a building, the Temple of the Jews.
The text was thought to be medieval but carbon dating has taken it back to the 5th century AD.
Originally thought to be from around the 11th century, new carbon dating techniques place the Garima Gospels between 330 and 650 AD.
“The monks believe that the book has the magical powers of a holy text. If someone is ill they are read passages from the book and it is thought to give them strength. Although the monks have always believed in the legend of Abba Garima the new date means it could actually be true,” the Telegraph quoted Mark Winstanley, who helped to carry out the conservation, as saying. (ANI)
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