Monday, December 13, 2010

St. Frumentius, Apostle of Ethiopia

Joyous feast!!! St. Frumentius, known in Ethiopia as Abba Selama ('Father of Peace') and Kesatay Birhan ('Bringer of Light'), wasn't the first enlightener of Ethiopia, but he was by far the most influential. Before his enslavement and service at the imperial court in Aksum there were certainly Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia, but they were scattered and disorganized and in all likelihood primarily foreign in origin.

Thanks to St. Frumentius' labors both at the court and in the country generally, first as a layman and later as a bishop, the empire was converted to Orthodoxy (the second country in the world to do so after Armenia) and church life was organized on a firm and lasting foundation. Today his flock is divided between two autocephalous churches, the Patriarchates of Addis Abeba and Asmera, and shepherded by several dozen hierarchs in the Horn of Africa and around the world. More on his life may be found here. May his blessings and prayers be with the Ethiopian and Eritrean nations and with us all!

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