In Ethiopia today October 15/tikimt 5 is annual feast of St.Gebremenfeskidus who founded the Ziquala monastry some 120 km far from the capital city Addis ababa in the 6 century. That is just 80 km east of the lake city Debrezeit. Pilgrimages made annually on October or March.Most if the pilgrimages are Orthodox faithful believers but other 20% visitors are non Orthodox. It is not only here others monasteries also like on lake Tana are well known by non believers than the locals. In the 17th century the Templars such as the pioneer Francesco Alvarez finished the Research why the Ark of the covenant is kept in Ethiopia and still others explore why Ethiopia is a Holyland mentioned more than 80 times in the Bible. These and other reasons attracts tourists to come to Ethiopian ancient churches. Mostly Ethiopian congregations expect blessings, merciful health after the long walking pilgrims to the monasteries.
There are still , how ever, some Ethiopians who consider the feasts trips as a place of entertainment Such as behind the best known Qulubi Gebriel feast of December 19, some gather and campfire and slaughter sheep during these fasting days of December against the tradition of the faith and they even don’t attend the church activities.
The Situation is different why non Catholics visited catholic monasteries. In Europe , Germany today on 15th of October 2017 I was among a group of 25 students who made the visit to the Andechs monastry near Munich. 10 of them are Muslims from syria and Afghanistan. I am the only Orthodox Christian going thinking in my mind the colorful monastic celebration of Ziquala or Debrelibanos. As it is also described in the website of Andechs Monsatry Since the 12th century there has been an almost unbroken stream of pilgrims coming to this the Holy Mountain of Bavaria with more than 33,000 Pilgrims and between early May and the end of July owing to the large number of pilgrimages to the Holy Mountain and the Carl Orff Festival.
Even If it is not the annual feast the visitors of the mountain are many , though mostly they are gathered in the beer garden and restaurants nearby. Inside the church there were only maximum of 5 people do praying , other visitors , youths or gentlemen , couples or singles don’t expect a blessing from the monastery as Ethiopians believe. No one pray from the group rather went out series of group plays, smiles, chill outs.
Most of the monastry visitors in Europe donot not expect a blessing from the monasteries rather they know their body is relaxed.
why not they know about their souls
On the Contrary of the Ethiopian pilgrim sinners of December St. Gebreil who killed ship in front of a church , The Muslim visitors respect the monastery by not drinking alcohols of the Andechs brewery fans, rather some Catholics enter to the church with a meal or a bottle of beer like I saw.