The Charity

The Ethiopian Heritage Fund was started August 2005. Its purpose, working together with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido church and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, is to aid the conservation of relics and to provide advice and education on their maintenance.

Its other stated aim is to raise awareness of these beautiful objects within Ethiopia and internationally thereby increasing tourism to rural areas. The Fund is entirely financed by donations and by those involved giving their expertise to the projects.


Ethiopia and the Church

Monks of the Garima Monastery
Garima Monastery monks

Perched in the rugged highlands on the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia retains a unique position as an ancient Christian civilization. The history of artistic production in Ethiopia spans over 2000 years. Artists and architects have produced a stunning array of religious artefacts: processional crosses, illuminated manuscripts, painted wooden icons and wall paintings.

These holy treasures have a very special purpose in the Divine Worship service of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido church. They are mainly cared for by monks and priests and stored in church treasuries often in remote districts. The dry climate of the mountains has been a great aid to maintaining the condition of the artefacts but inevitably many of them now need restoring in order to save them for future generations.

Recent work of the charity is reported on the Current and Completed Projects pages and you can view our latest November 2014 Newsletter here.

News and Events

Ethiopia and the Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity: The Garima Gospels in Context

Garima Gospels

A two-day conference sponsored by the Ethiopian Heritage Fund
at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies
University of Oxford was held on 2-3 November 2013.

Research presented at the Conference by Jacques Mercier suggests that the first Christian manuscript art may have come from Ethiopia.

Read a report of the conference in the Arts Newspaper

Lalibela book published

Lalibela book cover

Lalibela : Wonder of Ethiopia The Monolithic Churches and their Treasures

By Jacques Mercier and Claude Lepage

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lalibela is one of the most extraordinary places in the world. It contains thirteen churches, dating back to 12th century, hewn from rock in imitation of buildings.

This is the first book to focus on this extraordinary site in all its many dimensions – historical and cultural, archaeological, architectural, art historical and documentary and has proved to be a fascinating detective story. Funded by Ethiopian Heritage Fund, and Published in association with Paul Holberton Publishing, London. Read more

Read Philip Marsden's review in the Spectator Magazine

Read Thomas Packenham's review in the Burlington Magazine

Read Jacopo Gnisci's review in the SOAS Journal of research