Saints and Holy People

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Saint Frumentius (died c. 380)

Saint Frumentius (died c. 380)

Patron saint of Ethiopia, and also of St. Frumentius Theological College, the Anglican seminary in Ethiopia

Feast days: July 20 (Catholic Church); November 30 (Eastern Orthodox Church); December 18 (Coptic Orthodox Church)

Saint Frumentius was a Phoenician, born in Tyre (now in Lebanon). As a boy, he and his brother were captured and became slaves to the King of Axum (now Ethiopia). They gained the king’s trust, who freed them before he died.

They were influential in spreading Christianity in the kingdom. While travelling back to Tyre, the brothers stopped at Alexandria. Frumentius requested Saint Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, to send missionaries to Ethiopia. Athanasius decided that Frumentius was the person needed for this mission and consecrated him as a bishop. Frumentius returned to Ethiopia to continue his efforts to spread the message of Christ.

During his lifetime, the people called him ”Revealer of Light” and “Father of Peace.” He became the first “Abune” (Father), the title given to the head of the Ethiopian Church. According to Ethiopian tradition, he was the first to translate the New Testament into Ge’ez, the ancient langue of Ethiopia. This language is now the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Eastern Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox.

(Image in public domain-70)