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Posts Tagged ‘Myrrh’

Unconfirmed Reports of Myrrh-Streaming Bust of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on March 8, 2017

Is this some coincidence or what!? The day before yesterday I blogged this story on Tsar Nicholas II’s gift to the Ethiopian Orthodox church dedicated to the beloved martyr St. George, and now the following two amazing stories pop up today.

When Tsar Nicholas gave the beautiful bell to the Ethiopian church he probably felt then that he will soon be martyred. For whom tolls the bell? It tolls, indeed, for thee! By the way, the mysterious Myrrh, like Frankincense, has its origin in Ethiopia.

As reported yesterday, eyewitnesses have claimed to see myrrh streaming from several icons and a bust of Tsar Nicholas II at the Holy Royal Martyrs chapel in Simferopol. Representatives of the Simferopol and Crimean Diocese have investigated the icons in the chapel and the bust standing outside, but found no traces of the miraculous occurrence. However, as RIA-Novosti reports, they have called on the local priest to continue monitoring the situation.

Earlier Deputy of the State Duma of Russia and former Prosecutor General of the Republic of Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya spoke about the myrrh-streaming bust of the Holy Royal Martyr Nicholas II in Simferopol. Her words have evoked a mixed reaction in social networks.

Miraculous myrrh streaming is typically associated with icons and the relics of saints in Orthodoxy, manifesting the grace of God present in the sacred objects, and is often used for healing.

A study of the situation connected with the statement of the State Duma Deputy about the possibility of the myrrh-streaming bust of the Tsar-Passion Bearer Nicholas II, situated near the chapel of the Holy Royal Passion Bearers… and also of several icons inside the chapel itself, was carried out on site by a commission… At the time of the visit to the chapel… traches of myrrh on the bronze bust of the Tsar-Passion Bearer Nicholas and on the icons in the chapel were not found,” reads a message of the diocesan press service.

However, to come to a final conclusion, the commission has tasked the local priest with continuing to observe the icons and bust, and to report any signs of myrrh to the bishop and commission immediately.


Posted in Curiosity, Ethiopia, Faith | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Wise Man’s Cure: Frankincense is For Life, Not Just For Christmas

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on January 4, 2015

At this time of year it is hard to escape the Three Wise Men, riding their camels across Christmas cards and appearing in miniature form in countless school nativity plays across the world, bearing their gifts for the infant Jesus. Whilst we are all familiar with gold, it is the mention of frankincense and myrrh that really says “Christmas” to us and and takes our imaginations back to ancient times. But you might be surprised to learn that these two fragrances are still big business today; for example, Ethiopia alone trades around 4000 tonnes of frankincense every year. This is all the more remarkable because a single tree from which the resin is harvested will typically yield about 200g per year. The main international trade comes from a tree called Boswellia papyrifera, and Ethiopia is the main exporting country.

Frankincense is harvested by wounding the bark of trees and collecting the resin that is subsequently released from the wound, a process known as tapping. Tapping is carried out at several spots along the stem, using a traditional type of tool that resembles a chisel. The procedure is repeated in 8 tapping rounds during the dry season, which lasts about 8 months. But high demand means that many trees are being over-exploited and populations are at risk of dying out, threatening the livelihoods of villagers who depend on them.

But help may be on hand as the results of a new study by botanists from Ethiopia and the Netherlands led by Motuma Tolera, which could secure a future for the trees by revealing the anatomy of the resin secretory system.

Motuma Tolera explains, “In some areas, the high demand for frankincense is causing over-tapping, which is bad for a couple of reasons. Tapping the tree creates wounds in the stem that take resources to be healed, and more wounds create more opportunities for insects to attack the tree. It’s not a surprise that some trees die. This is bad for the tree but also for the people living in those areas, since they depend on the resin production, both economically and culturally.

One of the problems is the lack of knowledge of the type, architecture and distribution of resin producing, storing and transporting structures in the tree. Such knowledge is needed for improved tapping techniques in the future.”

The study, published this month in the Annals of Botany, provides this detailed knowledge for the first time.

Motuma Tolera said, “What we found was a 3-D network of inter-connected canals in the inner bark. Most of these canals are within a very narrow region of the inner bark, in a zone that is less than 7 millimeters thick. These allow for the transport of resin around the tree. We also found a few canals connecting deep into the xylem, the heart of the tree.”


The findings will have practical applications for the people of Ethiopia and other frankincense producers. Traditional tapping starts with a shallow wound, from which a relatively small amount of resin is released. The wound is then re-opened later with a cut that goes a bit deeper and more resin is collected – a process that is repeated over and over again. The amount of resin collected peaks after about 5 rounds of tapping, which the study suggests is the point at which the wound reaches the main region of resin canals.

Motuma Tolera says, “Our results suggest that tapping can become more efficient. A cut that goes deeper, earlier in the tapping cycle, may drain the resin more effectively. Since the 3-D resin canal network may allow for long distance movement of resin when it is intact, this would be an option to reduce the number of cuts, and reduce the damage to the trees. New studies will be needed to show how such improvements may keep trees healthy but still productive for resin production. This opens new ways for a more sustainable frankincense production system.”

It’s nice to discover something new, but here we also have the opportunity to give something back to the people who helped us with the study. I hope everyone in Lemlem Terara, but also elsewhere in Ethiopia, will benefit from what we have found in the future.” Tolera says.

The team hope the results mean more Boswellia trees will live to see next Christmas.



Posted in Curiosity, Ethiopia, Faith, Infos | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

What Do Frankincense, Christians and Bees Have In Common?

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on December 23, 2012

My answer: They are all precious, and they are disappearing in some parts of the world. Frankincense is destroyed by greedy money worshipers, Christians are exterminated by diabolic extremist Muslims, and technology, Cellphones, in particular, could be killing Bees all over the world. These phenomenons should be of great concern to the whole world, as Frankincense, Christians and Bees are an indicator species and their disappearance could signal greater environmental and spiritual problems

What will save the frankincense tree?

BosTreeEthiopiaThey are the most famous Christmas presents in history, and roll off the tongue as easily as the alphabet: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Every child still learns all about gold from a young age, but how many adults could tell you about those other holy stocking-fillers?

Both are aromatic resins, made from tree sap. When Jesus was born, they cost roughly the same as gold. Now they are hundreds of times cheaper than the precious metal, and are still grown in reasonable quantities around the Middle East.

That might be changing, however. Myrrh, made from the Commiphora tree, is relatively stable, but frankincense is in the grip of a serious crisis. Over-exploitation, changing land use and a destructive beetle are killing its source tree, Boswellia sacra. Some scientists estimate that without intervention the species could be all but eradicated within 50 years, severing a living botanical connection to the past that is rich in religious and economic history.

Recently, however, several factors have come together to pose a serious threat to Boswellia. Research led by Dutch scientist Professor Frans Bongers of Wageningen University in Holland, published last year, showed that commercial Boswellia was in danger of extinction. He says that the situation is only getting worse. Trees across Ethiopia, where most commercial frankincense originates, are dying at an alarming rate.

What is more, farmers are turning to more profitable crops such as sesame and cotton, and clearing their Boswellia forests. “Demand is falling, but the price is still rising,” says Prof Bongers. “The farmers are having to use a greater land area for the same yield.” Frankincense is a tiny crop by world standards, with Ethiopia exporting around 5,000 tons per year: mostly to China for use in medicines and perfumes. The entire Catholic Church uses just 50 tons a year.

Frankincense and myrrh are among the oldest internationally traded commercial tree products. Ethiopia is worldwide the main producer of frankincense and myrrh

Source: The Telegraph

Christianity ‘close to extinction’ in Middle East

Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report.

The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group.

And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.

It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East.

“A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.”

It cites estimates that 200 million Christians, or 10 per cent of Christians worldwide, are “socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.”

Continue reading…

Important footnotes:

They came for the Jews, and no one spoke up. Now they are coming for the Christians, and who is speaking up? When will they come for the atheists? the secular humanists? and each of the other religions in the world? If you don’t speak up now, who will speak up for you?

Please speak up now and sign a White House Petition to protect Christians in the Middle East

The website Orthodox Christian Laity has posted an appeal to Orthodox Christians in the U.S. to sign a petition to protect Christians in the Middle East.



Posted in Ethiopia, Faith | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Mysterious Myrrh & Frankincense

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on July 30, 2009

FrankincenseOriginMyrrh and Frankincense have had spiritual significance since ancient times and they also were adopted as medicines for physical ailments. When referring to this pair of herbs, many people might immediately think of their historic importance in religion.

The herbs are best known through the story of the Three Wise Men (Magi) delivering gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the baby Jesus; myrrh was also used to anoint Jesus’ body after the crucifixion.

These herbs, valued like gold, were mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament, in instructions to Moses about making incense and anointing oil, and in the Song of Solomon, where, among other references, are these:

Who is this coming up from the wilderness

Like palm-trees of smoke,

Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,

From every powder of the merchant?”

Till the day doth break forth,

And the shadows have fled away,

I will get me unto the mountain of myrrh,

And unto the hill of frankincense.

Frankincense (Boswellia) and Myrrh (Commiphora) species are economically and ecologically important plant species found mainly in the horn of Africa particularly in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. They are the source of aromatic gum resins, frankincense and myrrh.

Frankincense and myrrh have been valued for their sacred and ceremonial uses as well as in medicinal contexts since several millennia. Still today, they are widely used as raw materials in several industries such as pharmacology, food, beverage, flavoring, liqueurs, cosmetics, detergents, creams and perfumery, paints, adhesive and dye manufacturing.

Ethiopia is one of tropical African countries with large potentials of frankincense and myrrh resources and has been known as one of the major producers. Nevertheless, little efforts have been made at national level to explore the vegetation resources that provide these valuable products.

Both myrrh and frankincense grow as small trees or shrubs; they are of the botanical family Burseraceae. Their natural growing range is limited, but this has been extended by cultivation, and the current supplies are adequate to meet worldwide demand.

Today, most of the internationally-traded myrrh and frankincense are produced in the southern Arabian peninsula (Oman, Yemen) and in northeast Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia). The primary species relied upon today are Commiphora myrrha for myrrh and Boswellia caraterii for frankincense.

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Posted in Ethiopia | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

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