The church was built in 1893 by the Ethiopian emperor Johannes I. He wanted his people to have a presence in modern Jerusalem in addition to their church near the Holy Sepulchre. Visitors remove their shoes before entering the church, surrounded by its shady garden. The altar is at its heart, to be seen but not touched as you walk around the domed structure, taking in the hanging lamps and paintings, and watching the community at prayer at the appointed hours. Source: Israel Tourism Ministry
The Ethiopian Church is a charming island of tranquility 10 minutes walk north of Jaffa Road in busy downtown Jerusalem, and a living remnant of biblical faith and lore.
The lion over its gate is the symbol of this community, which teaches that Ethiopian Christians descended from the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, who gave her a banner depicting a Lion of Judah when she visited Jerusalem 1 Kings 10:1-10.
The church was built in 1893 by the Ethiopian emperor Johannes I. He wanted his people to have a presence in modern Jerusalem in addition to their church near the Holy Sepulchre. Visitors remove their shoes before entering the church, surrounded by its shady garden. The altar is at its heart, to be seen but not touched as you walk around the domed structure, taking in the hanging lamps and paintings, and watching the community at prayer at the appointed hours.
The new Ethiopian Church was found in 1888 by the Ethiopian Emperor Yohanes. The church is an impressive structure in a rounded courtyard, built in the circular style reminiscent of other ancient Ethiopian churches.
The complex is corner of tranquility in the busy heart of Jerusalem. Only during Easter things pick up, and it is recommended to visit and participate the lively services.
Remember to take off your shoes before you enter the in sanctuary, it is a traditional requirement of the Ethiopian cleric.
Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her. Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness. Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great quantity, and precious stones. There never again came such abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
1 Kings 10:1–10 NKJV
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has a quiet presence in Jerusalem for more than 1500 years. Many Ethiopian christians claiming that there has been an Ethiopian representation in Israel ever since the famous meeting between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon as describe in the Hebrew Bible some three thousand years ago.
The Ethiopian Eunuch in the New Testament
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
Acts 8:26–40 KJV