Debunked: Ark of the Covenant Stolen From Ethiopia

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A fake news article is circulating with the claim that the Ark of the Covenant has reportedly been stolen from Ethiopia.

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This imaginative story is a fabrication created by World News Daily Report. The false article claims that an elite military team of unknown origin had carried out a nocturnal mission in which the Ark of the Covenant had been taken from the Ethiopian church in which it is allegedly safeguarded. It is claimed that the militaristic operation was carried out by an elite group of 12-16  individuals who descended in black helicopters and subdued opposition with high-tech gas grenades.  According to the make-believe story, the entire operation was completed in under one hour.

The Legend of Menelik and the Ark

The only bit of accuracy in the World News Daily Report is the Ethiopian legend in relation to the Ark of the Covenant. According to a royal Ethiopian narrative called the Kebra Negast (Glory of the Kings), the biblical King Solomon from Jerusalem fathered a son named Menelik with the Queen of Sheba. In 1 Kings 10:1-13 of  the Bible, it is claimed that the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon during his reign  in Jerusalem (approximated at 970-930 BC) , yet there is no mention of a relationship that resulted in the birth of a son.

Nevertheless, mythology persists, and Ethiopian folklore claims that Menelik brought the Ark of the Covenant from Jerusalem to Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church states that the Ark of the Covenant is currently looked after in a church located in Aksum. It is not known whether they truly possess the Ark of the Covenant or not, as no one is ever permitted to see it. Some speculators allege that they may only maintain a replica of the relic.

Smithsonian offers a broad overview of the tale in this 2007 article.

World News Daily Report

World News Daily Report is a satirical website that publishes a daily flow of fake news articles. Visiting their disclaimer page will confirm this fact.

Recently, World News Daily Report has released a series of viral archaeological themed articles, some of which also have biblical themes. In late October they published an article claiming that the remains of an ancient Egyptian army had been discovered at the bottom of the Red Sea. Earlier in the month, they released an article reporting that an ancient document had been discovered in the Vatican archives which described a Roman historian’s first-hand eyewitness account of a miracle by Jesus.


The Ark of the Covenant has not been stolen from a church in Ethiopia. The article which claims this has come from a satire website that publishes fake news called World News Daily Report. While Ethiopian tradition does claim that they possess the Ark of the Covenant, it is not known if the lore is true, and there have been no genuine reports that the Ark has been stolen.

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