Voices from Däbrä Zämäddo
Voices from Däbrä Zämäddo presents three major sources on the history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and its monasticism: two hagiographical histories (gädlat), one of Abba Bärtälomewos and one of Abba Yo?ann?s, founders of the famous monastery in Lasta, Wällo, and a collection of forty-five miracles of Mary worked in Däbrä Zämäddu and the surrounding region. The sources testify to the monastery’s spiritual impact on the local population and to its share of the sufferings inflicted by the sixteenth-century revolt and invasion of the Islamic forces of Iman Ahmad from the east, and by the overwhelming Oromo migration from the south. As narrated in the gädlat, the story of how the monastery’s manuscripts escaped these devastations despite a lack of protection is a miracle indeed. A number of the miracles of Mary contained here can be traced to other sources or are repeat miracles told in the two gädlat. The majority, however, are unique and of high historical value. Only these miracles contain, for example, the information that the region around the monastery was in total darkness for days due to extraordinarily severe weather during that time.
The sources are edited, translated, and commented upon by Getatchew Haile, who has relied on his decades long study of G???z and Amharic manuscripts and the resulting expertise to supply the translations with the necessary annotations.