Debresina Print


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This most ancient and miraculous abbey is situated at a height of 2301 metres above sea level and is located 18 km. east of the town Elabered, on the Asmara-Keren road.  According to the Eritrean Orthodox Church chronicles, the site where now the monastery of Debre Sina  is situated was once a sanctuary for St Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, and her young child Jesus.  It is said that accompanied by Joseph and Salome they fled first to Egypt and stayed at the monastery of Koskuam for fear of being persecuted by King Herod of Judea. 

The story further tells that, after staying for a few days, they moved on southwards and arrived at the nearby caves of Debre Senhit (later called Debre Sina) in Eritrea and stayed for forty days.  It is said that God blessed the area and put his holy hand on the big rock there to create a most sacred place - a cave hollowed out with two doors, one facing east and the other west.

Visitors to Debre Sina will therefore not be surprised to discover the hanging mekdes (the sanctuary or Holy of the Holiest) where mass is celebrated and where priests with prayer sticks dance to the accompaniment of drums and sistra.

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