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Saint Frumentius

Saint Frumentius
  • Century: 4th Century
  • Patronage: Aksumite Empire
  • Feast Day: October 27th

St. Frumentius was the first Bishop of Axum, and he is credited with bringing Christianity to the Aksumite Kingdom, which was a major trading area for Northern Africa.  It is northern Ethiopia today.  He was a Greek that was born in Tyre.  

Frumentius had a brother Edesius, and they accompanied their uncle Meropius on a voyage to Ethiopia.  When their ship stopped at one of the harbors of the Red Sea, the whole crew was massacred, with the exception of St. Frumentius and his brother.  They were taken as slaves to the King of Axum, where they gained the favor of the King.  He raised them to positions of trust, and shortly before his death he gave them both liberty.  

The widowed Queen however had them remain with her, to assist her in the education of her young heir, Ezana.  They remained and used their influence to spread Christianity.  First they encouraged the Christian merchants present in the country, to practice their faith openly.  They even went on to convert some of the natives.  When Ezana came to age, Edesius returned to Tyre where he stayed and was ordained a Priest.  Frumentius however, was eager for the conversion of Ethiopia.  He accompanied his brother as far as Alexandria, where he requested to have a Bishop and some Priests sent to Ethiopia.  

It was determined that Frumentius would be the most suitable person for the job, so he was consecrated Bishop.  Frumentius returned to Ethiopia and erected his Episcopal see at Axum.  He baptized King Ezana, who had now taken over the throne.  He built many churches and spread Christianity throughout Ethiopia.  The people of Ethiopia called St. Frumentius “Revealer of Light” or “Father of Peace”.  St. Frumentius died in 383.  

Practical Take Away 

St. Frumentius and his brother were captured and made slaves of the King of Ethiopia.  They did win the favor over the king, and they were given freedom.  They both went on to be Ordained and St. Frumentius became the Bishop.  He catechized and converted the people, and built many Churches.  He was known for his converting the area of modern day Ethiopia to Christianity.