REPORT: Aron Hakodesh Allegedly Hidden in Ethiopian Church; Researchers Claim to Have Seen Items Used in Bais Hamikdash


The US-based Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute (BASE), a dubious organization, has announced that its scholars have (allegedly) pinpointed the location of the Aron Hakodesh from the Bais Hamikdash.

According to the BASE archaeologists, the Ark, a chest said to contain the two stone tablets inscribed with the Aseres Hadibros, was first shipped out to Egypt and then taken to Ethiopia.

[READ MORE – Debunking The Report That Lost Aron Hakodesh is Hidden in Ethiopian Church]

“As unusual as this may sound, the BASE team has uncovered compelling evidence that the Ark may well have been spirited up the Nile River to an eventual resting place in the remote highlands of ancient Kush–modern-day Ethiopia,” BASE said, noting that while their theory is not 100 percent foolproof, it has “strong potential.”

The researchers claim that “a sect of Jews driven by King Manasseh from Israel took the Ark with them and transported it to Egypt from where they eventually sailed up the Nile to Ethiopia”.

BASE investigators pursuing this lead eventually arrived at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in the city of Axum, whose priests claimed that the Ark was indeed contained within.

The investigators however were refused access to the alleged relic, as apparently only a guardian monk keeping a lifelong vigil over the Ark can see it.

“At this juncture, we cannot say with certainty that it is, but neither can he say for certain that it isn’t,” the investigators said. “What we have concluded is that St. Mary’s of Zion church in Axum, Ethiopia, is the resting place either of an incredible replica of the biblical Ark of the Covenant, or, of the actual Ark of the Covenant itself.”

The following are excerpts from the BASE Institute investigation:

Our research on-site in Ethiopia led us to the shores of Lake Tana, a body of water 53 miles long and 41 miles wide, located on the headwaters of the Blue Nile. Isolated far out on the waters of Lake Tana is Tana Kirkos Island, considered by the Ethiopians to be a holy island, populated only by Ethiopian, Christian monks.

The monks of Tana Kirkos believe they are living on the island where the Ark of the covenant rested, and where Levitical-style blood sacrifices were performed until 338 A.D., when the nation of Ethiopia converted to Christianity.

The monks of Tana Kirkos escorted us to a high plateau where they showed us several large, moss-covered stones which they said had previously been used in sacrificial ceremonies when the Ark of the Covenant was on the island. They also told us that the rock surface on which we stood had been the location of a tabernacle-like tent that had housed and protected the Ark.

Intrigued that a tent had been on the rock surface, I excavated some loose topsoil and discovered four hand-carved socket holes, spaced to create a 13′ by 13′ square, oriented in a north-south/east-west configuration, apparently to emulate the original Holy of Holies.

The monks then asked me if I would care to see implements from Solomon’s Temple. Intrigued by their statement, I waited expectantly while a monk approached a large mud-brick building, unlocked a heavy latch and lock (the only signs of modern society present on the island), entered and then emerged with four large, heavy artifacts. I first was shown two large metal forks, which they claimed were meat forks used for burnt offerings in Solomon’s Temple. They were about 4-1/2 feet long and bore the ancient symbol of a budding almond flower on the top of each one.

Next the monks showed me a large, bronze bowl that was approximately 22″ across and 2″ deep. They referred to the bowl as a “gomer,” and described it as a vessel in which priests placed animal blood during temple ritual, stirring the blood occasionally to keep it from coagulating. Finally, the monks showed me a metal stand, approximately 3′ high, designed to hold the bronze bowl, though extreme age had caused the metal of the stand to fatigue and droop.

I asked the monks why these items remained on the island, and they told me that, in 338 A.D., King Ezana was converted to Christianity by a Syrian monk named Abba Salama. Since Christianity was then decreed the new religion of the country, blood sacrificial ceremonies were no longer used, and the implements were rendered obsolete.

My next question was key: If the implements of sacrifice were left with the monks, what happened to the Ark of the Covenant? I was told the Ark itself was taken to Axum, where today it is kept in absolute isolation at St. Mary’s of Zion Church.

We next journeyed to Axum, the purported resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, and made our way to St. Mary’s of Zion Church. There I was introduced to a man referred to as “The Guardian of the Ark of the Covenant.” This man, reportedly, lives his entire life inside a fenced-off area surrounding St. Mary’s of Zion. He will not leave this fenced-off compound until he dies–when he will be replaced by the next Guardian of the Ark. In the chapel of the church, 30 robes from 30 previous guardians are on display – and every one of those 30 professed that the object they protected was the true Ark of the Covenant.

I was able to speak, through an interpreter, with the Guardian of the Ark, who told me that no other man besides himself could lay eyes on the Ark, that it was an absolutely holy object. He said that the world would not be allowed to pollute it by looking at it. He added that he and the villagers would protect the Ark with their lives, if necessary.

Interestingly, we were shown two silver trumpets that bore a remarkable similarity to the trumpets pictured on the arch of Titus in Rome, commemorating the Roman conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. Trumpets like these were an essential part of the implements used in Temple worship.

Subsequent to this initial investigation, we located and interviewed two people who have claimed to have seen the object resting in St. Mary’s of Zion. The first was a 105-year-old priest who once was the Administrator at St. Mary’s of Zion. On two occasions, he said, when the Guardian of the Ark died and a new guardian was trained in the worship rituals, he was able to gaze upon the relic.

In his detailed inventory of the treasury, he described the Ark as a gold box with two winged angel-like creatures on the top. He described 24 smaller angelic-type figures forming a molding around the top, with two green stones (not described in the Bible) at either end.

Is this the Ark of the Covenant described in the Bible? At this juncture, we cannot say with certainty that it is, but neither can be say for certain that it isn’t. What we have concluded is that St. Mary’s of Zion church in Axum, Ethiopia, is the resting place either of an incredible replica of the biblical Ark of the Covenant, or, of the actual Ark of the Covenant itself.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. The Aron could not have been taken during the reign of King Menashe because we have a mesorah that King Yoshiyahu, Menashe’s grandson, hid the Aron under the Beis Hamikdash during his reign.

  2. This is an ancient hoax. They built a replica of the Bais Hamikdosh there some 2,500 years ago, and claimed that they had stolen the Aron Hakodesh during the time of Shlomo Hamelech. We know from the Chofetz Chaim and a few other gedolim that the Klai Bais Hamikdosh are safely hidden away.

  3. Great news. Now maybe we can get it return to Yerushalayim and we can start the process of building the thrid Beis haMikdash so we can get back to burning animals instead of davening.

  4. This is silliness. First, this “rumor” is more than 7 years old and not news. Check the many Youtube “documentaries” on this from 6-7 years ago. Second, it goes against the psukim that say it has been hidden by Yirmiyahu and the gemara that it was nignaz bimkomo. At most, these people have a copy that they are worshipping.

  5. Also the title of this “story” is ridiculous. Even the yushke site that is linked in the story doesn’t purport to say with any degree of conviction that its there, only that it is possible. This is just clickbait by YWN

  6. I saw this “report” 25 years ago on a missionary telemarketing station. Complete with constant reminders of the toll free phone number and that operators are standing by and ready to take your orders. They were either trying to sell videos or books about it. I do remember that the “researcher” was doing his digging and discoveries while well-dressed impeccably in a three-piece suit.

  7. Dear YWN,

    Please stop with these cheap fake news click bait stories. Your readership doesn’t appreciate them even if your advertisers do. In the short term you may benefit but in the long term you won’t.

    (BTW we all know exactly where the Aron is – in a chamber directly under kodesh hakadoshim that Shlomo Hamelech designed for it to be hidden. This is why we still face in that direction when we daven.)

  8. This is old news. A British author who is a little bit of a crackpot, Graham Hancock, wrote essentially the same theory in his 1992 book, The Sign and the Seal.

    He did make a few compelling arguments, and importantly, if I remember correctly, he made a specific case based on text in the Tanach along the lines that the kohanim hid the Aron Kodesh during the reign of Menashe, and he brought a quote of something that Yoshiahu said along the lines of ‘take the Aron down from your shoulders” to the kohanim, maybe in divrei hayamim? not sure. But it did suggest that the Aron was gone by the time of Yoshiahu.

    I don’t think this is any more or less likely than any of the other theories and traditions. People (Jews, Christians, Muslims) have been looking under the Har Habayit for 1500 years or more, some with exclusive access for decades, and as far as we know none of them found anything there. HKBH has his ways and means and if he chose for it to be hidden in Ethiopia, so be it. May he reveal it in the right time speedily in our days, and whether it has to travel a few hundred feet up from below the makom hamikdash, or a thousand miles from Axum, may we all be blessed by its kedusha and splendor.

    I don’t know how crazy the idea is compared to anything else, but

  9. Rav Yaakov Yosef Herman, Z”L sent a shliach to the Chofetz Chaim with a sealed letter re: the location of the Aron. The chofetz chaim confirmed to the shliach the location is correct, and destroyed the sealed letter that the shliach brought.

    Rav Yaakov Yosef Herman’s daughter slipped and mentioned to ….the general location of the Aron, therefore I can tell you it’s not in Ethiopia or Egypt.

  10. There is absolutely nothing new here. The Ethiopian Christians have been openly saying for centuries that their mythical founder, a son that Shlomo Hamelech supposedly had with Malkas Shevo, stole the “Ark” and took it to Aksum. Every Ethiopian church has a replica of this so-called “Ark”. Of course Shlomo never had relations with Malkas Shevo, there was no son, the Aron was not stolen, and the whole thing is a silly myth, but it’s an ancient and well-documented one, so why the news story?

  11. Don’t forget that the Torah she’baal pe is what’s decisive, which the nations of the world don’t understand or value. All of our traditions are based on the oral explanations of the pessukim of the Tanach. The gentiles’ interpretations in Tanach are of no consequence.

  12. The Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute is operated by someone with no credentials as an archeologist. YWN should screen out stories promoted by unqualified organizations, or at least report on the credentials – or lack thereof – of the persons making claims about important topics.

  13. The Ethiopians ahve always been claiming that, and there appear to be good reasons to believe it is a hoax, and has always been. PerhapsWYN missed the day in journalism school when they talked about “verifying” one’s sources (no shame, CNN seems to have played hooky the same day as well).

  14. “YWN should screen out stories promoted by unqualified organizations, or at least report on the credentials – or lack thereof – of the persons making claims about important topics.”

    That would eliminate 85% of the “news” they publish.

  15. “Looks like fake news issued by Leftis…”

    Agreed. This is all part of a “vast left-wing conspiracy” to impugn the character and fidelity of Shlomo Hamelech, question the mesorah regarding Yirmiyahu, Yoshiyah (or one of those “Y’ guys) and their role in hiding the Aron and most importantly, show that the real Aron is hidden in a secret chambe under the basement of the Trump Hotel in D.C. On a more serious note, there are some really bizzare theories regarding the Aron circulated on Evangelical Websites that make a lot less sense than this recycled bubba meisa.

  16. This is hardly news. Smithsonian Magazine ran an article on the Ark and Ethipoia in December 2005. The Daily Mail ran an article in 2011. In all likelihood it is all a bluff as nobody but the “guardian” is able to see it, and the story of its travel to Ethopia is highly dubious.

  17. ATT YWN,
    If you’re going to edit the content of the article then please be consistent. “It is said to contain ..” Are you doubting that Moshe Rabbeinu followed through with putting in the Luchos? OK, so you got it from elsewhere. Why, then, did you have to put in the words, “Aseres Hadibros”?

  18. It’s possible that some of the aseres hashvatim were taken to Ethiopia (we know there are those who claim to be Bnei Menashe) and they may have built a replica of the Bais Hamikdash. The keilim they made might be similar to the original – at least as much as they knew from our sources or remembered. But they’re almost certainly not the actual original keilim…