Saint Frumentius of Ethiopia
Jul 16, 2015 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast October 27
Around the year 330, Meropius, a Christian philosopher of Tyre, undertook a voyage to the coast of Arabia. With him were two young pupils, Frumentius and Aedesius.
On the voyage homeward, their vessel docked at an Ethiopian port. Falling out with some of the sailors, the natives massacred the crew and passengers, with the exception of the two lads who were studying under a tree at some distance.
When found, they were taken to the king who, impressed with their demeanor and knowledge, made Aedesius his cupbearer, and the elder, Frumentius, his secretary.
On his deathbed, in gratitude for their services, this prince granted them liberty. But the queen, regent for her young son, begged them to stay and help her, which they did.
Frumentius, having the principal management of affairs, convinced several Christian merchants who traded in Aksum to settle in the country, procuring for them all sorts of privileges and conveniences for religious worship.
When the young prince came of age and became king, ruling with his brother, the two Tyrians resigned their posts despite the young king’s entreaties that they remain. Aedesius returned to Tyre where he was ordained a priest, and related his adventures to Rufinus who wrote them in his Church History.
Frumentius sought out St. Theodosius in Alexandria and talked to him about his zeal for the conversion of the Ethiopians, entreating him to send a pastor to that country. Whereupon, St. Athanasius consecrated Frumentius bishop of Aksum, judging no one better suited for the task.
The consecration of Frumentius took place roughly around the year 350. Returning to Aksum, he gained numbers to the Faith through his preaching and miracles. The two royal brothers are said to have received baptism. But the conversion of the Aksumite kingdom was far from completed during the life of Frementius, though the population held him in the highest esteem.
He died about the year 383, and was reverently called Abuna – “Our Father” – and Aba Salama – “Father of Peace”. To this day Abuna is the title of the primate of the Church of Ethiopia.