A proud and happy becoming Doctor presents his thesis and express his thanks to friends and colleagues for support and encouragement.


Nailing of dissertation on Yimrihane Kristos

Today Mengistu Gobezei Worku, Ethiopian Orthodox priest and archaeologist from the village of Yimrihane Kristos, nailed his dissertation at Lund University: ”The Church of Yimrihane Kristos – An Archaeological Investigation”- a great joy for him and for us who have followed his work since the start four years ago. Present at this occasion was about 20 colleagues and friends.

This is in many ways an important doctoral thesis, not least for SCECH and its team of conservators and the intention to restore this church and its paintings. Supervisor has been Samuel Rubenson, Professor in Church history and chairman in SCECH who himself has grown up in Ethiopia.

The disputation will take place at Lund Universty 31 May between 3 and 5 PM, at LUX, Helgonavägen 3, and it is then also possible to get a copy of the thesis.

The wife of Mengistu, Sewhareg, the becoming Doctor Mengistu Gobezei, Professor Samuel Rubenson, CTR, Lund University and Lars Gerdmar, Painting Restorer and Icon Painter.

The church Mengistu has chosen to be the object for his dissertation is one of the most unique among thousands of the Ethiopian medieval churches and one of the most important in the world from this time. It is built in the end of the 11th or beginning of the 12th century, probably of the king Yimrihane Kristos. The architecture in all and its details is spectacular and it is adorn by some of the most ancient mural paintings in Ethiopia.

In 2012 and by permission of ARCCH (the national cultural heritage organization of Ethiopia) SCECH’s conservation team, headed by Lars Gerdmar, made a five days preliminary examination of this church, funded Lund Mission Society (find link to a presentation of this one below).

SCECH now wish Mengistu – a close friend to our organization – all the best with the dissertation and the important work that lies before him as a scholar after his return to Ethiopia in September. We keep together and  continue our efforts in order to start the restoration project of Yimrihane Kristos.

Link to: Preliminary examination of YK 2012

Notis 18.05.03















Richard Pankhurst 1927–2017

Professor Richard Pankhurst passed away on Thursday, February 16, in the age of 89 – R.I.P.

As the co-founder of Addis Ababa University, founder of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, writer of more than twenty books and a tireless engagement for Ethiopian humanities, he has meant more for Ethiopia than any other westerners.

With deep gratitude I remember, ever since my first visit to Ethiopia in 2002, many rewarding meetings with him at his home in Addis Ababa and the response he, together with his lovely wife Rita, gave during discussions about our conservation project as well as encouragement to me in person apropos my own research on Ethiopian sacred art. He was a very gentle and courteous person, always listening carefully, quick in the reply and sharp witted. You always felt happy, enriched and consolidated after an appointment with him. And I know that he in the same manner inspired a lot of colleagues in their different ambitions to contribute to Ethiopian culture and history. Professor Pankhurst was a powerhouse of Ethiopian humanities and a driving force to so much of importance and to so many persons. The foreign minister of the country describes him as “one of Ethiopia’s greatest friends” and Ethiopians now call for state funeral, calling him a champion of Ethiopian culture.

On behalf of SCECH I would like to express our gratitude to what Professor Richard Pankhurst has done for our project, the deepest respect for him as a person and his cultural achievement and our thoughts now goes to his wife Rita and their family.

Lars Gerdmar


Find by this link a newly published article in The Telegraph

Notice: 17.02.20


Visit in the crypt of Lund CathedralOur ethiopian friends together with SCECH’s contact person in Yimrihane Kristos Mengistu Gobezei in the middle on the visit to Lund’s Cathedral September 3, 2016. © SCECH


Workshop with Ethiopian visitors from Lasta

Yesterday SCECH finalized a 7 days workshop in Sweden together with visiting guests from Lalibela and the village of Yimrihanne Kristos (YK), district of Lasta on account of our planned project of conservation, education and research in Ethiopia. This included discussions about how the conservation of the buildings and paintings in YK practically shall be implemented and study visits to various kind of conservations projects in progress in medieval churches in the surroundings of Lund and Gothenburg.

The workshop started August 31 and was dedicated to how we in Sweden manage our Christian cultural heritage by conservation and education, how the national and regional heritage authorities works in relation to the Church and restorers in field and to handicraft tailored to building- and painting conservation related to the need of these skills in Ethiopia.

Besides responsible priests and representatives for the cultural authorities in Lasta, and on account of SCECH’s newly established collaboration with World Monuments Fund, Stephen Battle, Program Director for the Sub-Saharan Africa region of this organisation was also present.

A closer and richly illustrated report of this workshop will soon be presented.

Notice: 16.09.06

Sank George church

The church of Saint George. One of the 11 world famous rock-hewn churches in Lalibela. © SCECH


Appointment with the ambassador to Sweden

Our appointment with the Ethiopian ambassador, which yesterday (16.05.12) took place at Lund University, was from several points of view most rewarding and successful. Mrs. Woinshet Tadesse listened with great interest to the presentation of our ideas and hands-on ambitions in order to assist in the work for the preservation of Ethiopia’s cultural heritage, starting with our wish to support some of the new, smaller universities that are interested to put the heritage conservation and management on their educational agenda. Not least interesting for us in this context is Woldia University, which in October will open a new branch in Lalibela dedicated to these subjects and the wish to collaborate with SCECH in connection to the Yimrihane Kristos Pilot project of conservation and education, which we will be able to start as soon as we have got funding. She emphasized the importance a right approach on the issues of heritage management and conservation have for Ethiopia and its history, but also what our activity could mean for increased tourism and in turn for the economy. Regarding the educational element of our project she pointed out the spin off this also can create in terms of new job opportunities.

We also underlined that the most essential for us in SCECH is the collaboration with the local people and responsible persons for the cultural heritages on the countryside and to engage them in our work at spot, in order to learn how to take care of and manage their own heritage in a way that ensure the preservation in the long run. Here we informed about our invitation of a group of a key persons from Lalibela and Yimrihane Kristos to Sweden in August/September in order to learn from how we accomplish our conservation projects here, and to this the ambassador responded with great satisfaction.

We briefed the essential details in our planned Pilot project and also informed about our plans for research in connection to this, which we hope will end up in a beautiful book on Yimrihane Kristos and its art, about the idea of engaging the ARTE broadcast company in order to produce a documentary on the site with starting point in our project, as well as over all plans for a long term program of conservation and education in Ethiopia, which she appreciated a lot. We also put forward the need to soon get economy in the project, preferable in joint efforts together with the cultural authorities in the country (ARCCH) and/or Ethiopia’s Ministry of Culture – hopefully we could also interest private enterprises to sponsor this project as Ethiopian Airlines or Midroc, the latter owned by sheik Muhammed Al Amoudi, a great friend to both Ethiopia and Sweden – as well as our wish to continue to develop our contacts with the national and regional bodies which have the practical and economical responsibilities for the cultural heritage and its management. In this connection Mrs. Tadesse added the possibilities to get funding via UNESCO.

The ambassador promised to facilitate our work in Ethiopia by all means and suggested that we should stay in close contact. The discussion that took place at this meeting will certainly lead to concrete results both in terms of ways to find sustainable economical solutions for our activities in Ethiopia in the long run and the establishment of and trust in our organization in the country. Her wholehearted willingness to collaborate with us will for sure open new doors for SCECH’s activities in Ethiopia and we are so grateful for this compliance.

Notice: 16.05.13

Visit by the Ethiopian ambassador to Sweden

On May 12 SCECH will be visited by the ambassador Woinshet Tadesse, who have suggested us an appointment. This will take place at Lund University and we are very much looking forward to this. Mrs. Tadesse know about our organization and our ambitions to assist in the battle against the accelerating decay of many ancient churches and paintings which belongs to the Ethiopian cultural heritage and we will now get the opportunity to discuss this. We will return with more information after the meeting.

Notice: 16.05.10




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