An Ethiopian church leader says Friday, June 26, marks the right time to unveil the Biblical Ark of the Covenant, which he says has been hidden in his church for centuries.
Abuna Pauolos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, was in Rome this week to meet with Pope Benedict XVI. While there, he told reporters that the time had come to reveal before the world the Holy Ark. He said that the holy container has been in the custody of his church for hundreds of years.
Paulous said he would make the full announcement this Friday, June 26, 2 PM local time (3 PM Israel time, 8 AM New York time) at a press conference in Rome.
The claim that the Biblical Holy Ark has been kept at the Church, in the city of Axum, is an old one, but this is the first time that the Church plans to actually reveal the actual container, or news of it. It is not known whether the Church claims that the actual Tablets of the Law are inside it.
Copies of the alleged Ark are kept in many other churches in Ethiopia.
The news of the impending announcement was first reported by the Italian news agency Adnkronos. Pauolos told the news outlet, "Soon the world will be able to admire the Ark of the Covenant described in the Bible as the container of the tablets of the law that G-d delivered to Moses, and the center of searches and studies for centuries."
Pauolos said "The Ark of the Covenant has been in Ethiopia for many centuries. As Patriarch, I have seen it with my own eyes, and only a few, highly-qualified persons could do the same - until now."
Back to Earth
Stuart Munro-Hay, author of “Quest for the Ark of the Covenant: The True History of the Tablets of Moses,” concluded that the object in question is definitely not the original Holy Ark.
The building of the Ark of the Covenant – also known as the Ark of Testimony and the Ark of G-d’s Covenant – in accordance with Divine instructions is recounted in the Book of Exodus. The Ark held the Tablets of the Law, and traveled with the People of Israel, leading the way into the Promised Land. It was placed first in the Tabernacle in Shilo, and centuries later in the Holy Temple built by King Solomon. Since then, its whereabouts have been unknown, though one popular legend says it was brought to Ethiopia. Alternatively, it could be under the Temple Mount, in a cave at Mt. Nevo in Jordan, in the Vatican, a hideaway in Utah, or elsewhere.