Today is the feast day of Saint Frumentius. Ora pro nobis.
Saint Frumentius was born in Tyre, Lebanon. Frumentius and his brother were taken on a voyage to Ethiopia while still young children by their uncle, Meropius, a Christian philosopher and explorer. During the voyage, tragedy struck and the ship was attacked by barbarian pirates while harbored in a community on the Red Sea. The entire crew, with the exception of the two children, were slain, and the ship destroyed. Frumentius and Aedesius were taken as slaves.
The two youth were unlike the people of the region in appearance, and as such were given to the king of Axum as a curiosity. He was immediately taken with their youth, beauty, and wit, and installed them as members of his court, seeing to their education, and providing them protection and care. Aedesius would eventually become the king’s cup-bearer, and Frumentius his secretary.
The king, on his deathbed, thanked them for their services and in reward gave them their liberty.
After his death the queen begged them to remain at court and assist her in the government of the state until the young prince came of age; this they did, using their influence to spread Christianity. When the young king reached his majority, Edesius desired to return to Tyre, and Frumentius accompanied him as far as Alexandria. There he begged Saint Athanasius, its Patriarch, to send a bishop to the country where they had spent many years; and the Patriarch, considering him the best possible candidate for this office, in the year 328 consecrated him bishop for the Ethiopians.
Upon his return, Frumentius was welcomed back with reverence, and through working of miracles and holy example, converted the king, and subsequently, the majority of the nation. He worked tirelessly throughout the country until his death in approximately the year 383. The people of Ethiopia called him Abuna (Our Father), Kesate Birhan (Revealer of Light), and Abba Salama (Father of Peace).
Research by REGINA Staff