Aba Yohannis monastery ( sometimes referred to as Aba Yohani ) is one of the still active monasteries among the rock hewn churches in Tigray. This monastery has one of the most refreshing views and panoramic scenes. This monastery is one of the few beautiful places in Abi Adi that you must visit. The mountain where the monastery is carved from, the surrounding view and the condition of the area combined will definitely give you a glimpse how beautiful and healthy the area is.
Aba Takelabe Aberha, now more than 77 years old, of Aba Yohannis monastery told the photographer JOEY L how he was impressed by the area and decided to live in there for the rest of his life. “My father was a priest and when my mom died, he became a monk. I followed. I came from my village, from the countryside to learn. I didn’t go home. I preferred to stay here. I’ve been here for 43 years.”
Aba Yohannis monastery is impressively built half way up on a 300 meters cliff. Set midway up a rock face, it’s just about accessible by a step climb on the western side, followed by walk through tunnels carved into the rock, ending with a tiptoe along a narrow ledge with a steep drop, to access the church. As can be seen from one the pictures below taken from a distance, the holes are windows and doors. They are not as small as you see in the picture.
Getting there requires walking up on steps and ridges. The climb alone could take a little over than 20 minutes. Reaching this monastery requires a bumpy drive 13-14 Kilometers from the small town of Abi Adi.
Abune Yohannis monastery church is an exclusively male monastery like Debre Damo Monastry.