(By Tefera Alemu)

While the avarage orthodox christian will tell you that he tries to abide to abide to his/her religion, there are few who give up their secular life completely to commit their days on earth fully to their creator. Age is not a factor: although most devoted christians become monks after the age of 65 or more, you will find some who become hermits as early as their twenties.



A hermit wears a unique hat for the remainder of his/her life. The moment a person decides to become a hermit he/she declares him/herself " dead and burried" in the religious sense of the term. The hermit leaves all belongings, family, job, comfort... behind to commit each and every day to God only. The hermit will no longer seek any physical pleasure such as sex, sleeping on comfortable a bed or eating delicious food. The purpose of being a hermit is avoidance of comfort and living to pray only.

To emphasis their committment to a life of discomfort in search for repenting their sins many monks live in situations where the majority try to avoid. While there are several ways of living that the interested tourist can visit in different parts of Ethiopia, the following picture shows the life time homes of some monks living next to the Entoto Kidane Mihret Monastery. They live in an area where most Ethiopians will not even consider to spend some time at: the monasteries grave yard. A public toilet is just nearby making the air in their viccinity making the smell in the area untolerable at times . Monks there made this the part of their daily life and self willingly take the role of cleaning the toilet.



These monks are completely detached from the outside world and spend hours on communal prayers. The rest their day is spent praying of reading religious books. Their only way of survival is handouts from followers who come to the church.