Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, Ethiopia
Dating back to the 4th Century AD, the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion claims to contain the Ark of the Covenant, the ornate gold chest that houses the Ten Commandments.
Though some doubt the authenticity of these claims, there are many more who believe it to be true. Kept tightly under wraps, there is only one person allowed to view the Ark; a special guardian monk appointed by a predecessor. No one else in the world is allowed access to this most holy of relics, though many have tried to bribe the guardian monk to no avail…
Who knows if we’ll ever able to check the authenticity of the relic anyway. In a recent escalating conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, international experts have raised the alarm over the security of the ark and other religious and cultural artefacts. They add: “There are reports of looting of manuscripts from Tigrayan churches and monasteries, and warnings that they will … be taken out of Ethiopia to be sold at antiquities markets in other countries.”(source, Guardian – Jan 2021).