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Christianity Ethiopian Gospels

Gospels of Stephen and Abakerazun, in Ge‘ez. Tigre, Ethiopia, 15th century. NYPL, Spencer Collection.

In the late 15th century, the remote monastery of Gundé Gundié (Gunda Gunde) in the Tigre area of northeastern Ethiopia was home to a dissident group of Ethiopian monks, led by Estifanos (Stephen) and Abakerazun. They opposed the Emperor Zar‘a Ya‘qob and some of the regulations and devotions he introduced into Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity.

This beautifully illuminated and vividly colored manuscript is written in ancient Ethiopic (Ge‘ez); the illustration apparently portrays the Evangelist Matthew.