The church, also known as the Debra Gannet, was built in 1893 by Emperor Johannes I as a gift for his Ethiopian subjects to ensure they had a presence in Jerusalem as well as the church rooftops that form part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City.
It borders Mea Sha'arim, the Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood and is a delightful, calming complex with its circular church surrounded by administration buildings, chapels and a few residences of the monks and nuns.
The lion (found over the gate) is the symbol of the Ethiopian Christian community, descended as they are from the Queen of Sheba and Solomon.
You can enter the church, a circular building, but you must take your shoes off before doing so. It's a somewhat garish and uninspiring interior but the complex is a delight to escape the madness of Jerusalem.
Opening times are somewhat erratic - it was open at around 4pm on a Saturday on a recent rtrip in Jan 2012.
Ethiopia St. (Rehov Ethiopia) is a quiet, narrow street off Rehov Ha-Nevi'im ("Prophets St.").
This used to be a posh and prestigious neighborhood in Jerusalem in the beginning of the 20th century, and you can see the beautiful mansions built in Jerusalem stone.
Walking up the street you will soon see on your right the dome of the Ethiopian Church. It was built in 1893, is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and the adjoining monastery is named "paradise". The church is quite small, surrounded by a large yard with the monks' dormitories flanking it.
The church building is round, with a black dome topped by an Ethiopian cross. Its heart, in the center of the building, is a sqaure structure representing the Holy of Holies.
Upon entering the church visitors are requested to leave their shoes outside.
The decor, the paintings and icons inside the church are colorful, interesting, different.
The Ethiopian Church is an island of serenity not far from the city center, and is worth a visit.
At the 9th Station of the Cross, you'll find a stairway and, you'll also find yourself near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Climb the stairs and find yourself on the roof. It is here that Ethiopian monks have made their home among the group of small cupolas and dilapidated huts.
This is not necessarily a "must-see" in everyone's book, but I found it to be curiously moving, if only because it shows that faith doesn't nessarily need to come dressed in all the trappings of a glamorous cathedral or basilica. Ironically, you can find it quiety and unassumedly awaiting you in the most unexpected of places.
Hidden in the tiny Ethiopia street (not too far from Ha'Neviim street) there is one of cutest, wierdest churches in Jerusalem. This is the Etiopian church. Before going into the court, admire the gate with the two lions on the top. Unlike most churches, this one is comletely round and you will need to take off your shoes before going in. The inside is one of the kitschiest plcaes you will ever see. The Ethiopians surely have their own sense of style where the dominating colour is pink.