St. Frumentius

In the fourth century a philosopher by the name of Metrodorus decided to embark upon a voyage to see the world. He made several voyages, traveling to Persia and into what was then called India, which is modern-day Ethiopia. After one of his journeys, he returned with a great quantity of diamonds and other precious stones, claiming that he would have brought back much more if it had not been that the king of Persia had taken most of his treasure.

Another man, a philosopher of Tyre named Meropius, intrigued by the success of Metrodorus, decided to embark on a voyage of his own. Deciding that this would be a great opportunity to educate his two nephews, Frumentius and Edebsius, he took them along. During the trip they were shipwrecked near Ethiopia and barbarians killed all the crew, sparing the lives of Frumentius and Edebsius since they were youngsters. The two brothers were then taken to the Ethiopian royal court in Accum, a poor village in Abyssinia.

It didn’t take long for the prince to realize the potential of the two boys in the court so he made sure that they received the best education. They were treated well and in turn took good care of the prince. Thankful for their years of service, on his deathbed the prince granted them their freedom. The queen, however, pleaded with them to stay and assist her in governing. Edebsius became the royal cupbearer and Frumentius was made a secretary. The two brothers introduced Christianity to the people. Frumentius also managed many of the affairs of the queen and in his desire to spread Christianity, engaged many Christian merchants to trade in the area.

When Aizan, the young king, came of age to reign, the two brothers decided to resign their posts and leave the country. Edebsius went back to Tyre and became a priest. Frumentius went to Alexandria and pleaded with the archbishop, St. Anthanasius, to send a missionary to Ethiopia. St. Anthanasius called a synod of bishops and it was decided that since Frumentius had already started a great conversion in the people of Ethiopia, that he should be ordained bishop and return to finish the work he began.

So Frumentius was ordained bishop, returned to Ethiopia and gained great numbers of converts to the faith.

Lesson

Both Frumentius and Edebsius (also known as Aedesius) are considered the apostles of Ethiopia. Frumentius is called “Abuna” or father of Ethiopia. The Latins commemorate him on October 27 and the Greeks on November 30. He died in the year 380.

Prayer

Pray for us, dear Frumentius, that we may also “bloom where we are planted.” You were just a young boy in a strange and pagan land, but you made the best of the situation and brought truth and life to that desolate land and lost people. We pray for your intercession that we may bring the light of Christ with us wherever we go in the hope of inspiring others to follow Him. In His name we pray. Amen.

Other Saints We Remember Today

Blessed Emilina (1178), lay sister, Patron of lay women

  • Ayele Negesse

    ‘Pagan Land’ does not agree with either bible itself or the history of Christianity at large. Ethiopia has long before accepted Christianity though not in scope and scale- There were Christan exercises. If not, Judaism was the one widely practiced and served as foundation for Christianizing the nation and he the Abune has made use of this opportunity to converting Jewish priests into Servants of Lord. Even this does not agree with the expression pagan. For the country received Christianity well before than any other country except the Israelis , puts the good read and the landing prayer at odd with the works of holy spirit and hope you correct it. God bless you!

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