(AA) – Many followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, along with some non-Christians and non-believers, resort to the “holy water” to seek protection from the evil eye and healing from illness.
The two most frequented holy water sites in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa are the churches of St. Urael and Kidanemihiret.
“The water is transformed into holy water by divine intervention,” Gebretsadik Gebrekidan, a priest who attends to the holy water compound at the church of St. Urael, told The Anadolu Agency.
“It is our [Eastern Orthodox Church] unique asset with a verifiable demonstration of the Almighty‘s will to heal the sick,” he said.
The Orthodox Church is the most ancient and powerful religious institution in Ethiopia, with some 10,000 churches across the country.
“In every church, prayers transform water into a healing holy water,” Gebretsadik said, adding that in some cases, believers drink or sprinkle the holy water of their patron saints or popular holy water sites.
The prayers are done early every morning as part of the church’s liturgy of transforming water into a holy water, according to Gebretsadik.
“The prayers are usually performed from 6:00 am to 8:00 am,” he said.
As soon as the prayers end, they drink and sprinkle the holy water in small rooms partitioned to accommodate male and women separately. Inside the rooms, the holy water is poured over their body through water pipes.
“It is common to hear people shouting while the priest struggling to instill the spirit of God and get the demon driven out of the patient,” the priest said.
Tigist Tsegaye, 30, went numb last November while in Dubai. Her family tied her hands and brought her to the compound.
Tsegaye told AA that she had faced “stress-induced unconsciousness” after her employers in Dubai sent her home.
“It is three months now, since I am sheltered here to get sprinkled into the holy water almost every day,” she said.
“This time, I am conscious and have resumed leading normal life…I am completely healed for I believe in the miracle holy water,” Tsegaye said.
Priest Gebretsadik explained that Tsegaye “was completely uncontrollable and beat whoever approached her” but that she is healed now thanks to the holy water.
Bed-ridden and suffering from Asthma, Eyob Abuobeker has been sprinkled since six years ago.
“My parents brought me here as my suffering got worse,” he told AA.
Shega Metaferia, a patient suffering from skin cancer, said she has spent 14 months at the Kidanemihiret Church to get cured of the form of cancer that spoiled her face.
“Whenever I observe many people sprinkled into the holy water and devil exorcised, my belief to the healing power of holy water is getting strengthened,” she said, adding that her condition was improving.
According to priest Gebretsadik, once patients are healed by the holy water, they usually testify before the faithful.