Cut into the hillside of Mai Qoho is a shrine attributed to Abune Libanos, one of the legendary Nine Saints who took refuge from persecution in Syria in the 5th Century. At the time, the king of Axum was Tazena, father of King Kaleb. Ethiopian religious literature, written mostly by hand in the ancient Ge’ez script, speaks of the many miracles and gadlans (struggles) that characterized their mission of converting the general population into Christianity. There are several rock-cut churches in the Tigre region dedicated to Abune Libanos and in Lalibela further south.
Mekeyede Egzi (Steps of Christ)
A flight of stairs formed in the natural rock on the flank of Mai Qoho is the source of a legend in which Christ helped the jointly ruling Kings Ezana and Sazana drain a swamp by causing dust to fall from heaven.
The legend becomes confusing because it speaks of stelae building to placate the homeless swamp spirits, and the gold that rained with the dust from heaven was used to build the first church in Axum, the original Tsion Maryam. Archeological evidence, however, shows that the stelae preceded King Ezana’s conversion.