Feast of Sts. Aedesius and Frumentius (October 27)   1 comment

Above:  Flag of Ethiopia

SAINT AEDESIUS (A.K.A. SAINT EDESIUS) (LIVED DURING THE 300S)

Priest and Missionary

colleague (and possibly brother) of

SAINT FRUMENTIUS (DIED CIRCA 380)

First Bishop of Axum and Abuna of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

Disclaimer:  Accounts I have located, consulted, and used to write this post disagree on details.  I have, however, attempted to sort through the discrepancies and to write as accurately as possible.  Sometimes objective reality blends with legend.  Distinguishing between the two categories can prove difficult when examining the stories over 1700 years after the fact.

Sometimes life offers unexpected opportunities.  Who would have expected that two Syrian students of philosophy, en route back home from a journey to India, would have played a vital role in Ethiopian history?

In 340 the two saints from Tyre survived the killing of most of their shipmates when the vessel stopped along the coast of the Kingdom of Aksum, which included parts of present-day Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Yemen.  They joined the court of King Ousanas subsequent to this event; St. Aedesius served as cupbearer and St. Frumentius as secretary.  The saints remained in the royal court after Ousanas died; St. Frumentius functioned as tutor to the young Ezana II.  When Ezana II began to govern in his own right the saints left the kingdom.  St. Aedesius returned to Tyre, where he became a priest.  St. Frumentius traveled to Alexandria, Egypt, where he asked St. Athanasius to send a missionary.  St. Athanasius sent St. Frumentius.

Christianity had arrived in the Aksumite Kingdom before the two Syrians arrived.  St. Philip the Evangelist  played a vital role in introducing Christianity to the region by witnessing to an Ethiopian eunuch.  Traveling Roman merchants had brought it along with their wares.  But the two saints aided greatly in the faith’s propagation.  St. Frumentius, known to the locals as Abuna Salama, became the first Abuna (“Father” or Patriarch) of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, often called simply the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  His Christological orthodoxy led to the enmity of Roman Emperor Constantius II (reigned 337-361), an Arian.  And, in the 300s, St. Aedesius, at Tyre, told Rufinus of Aquileia, a church historian, of the legacy of his friend and colleague.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, historically

…the prime source and custodian of the cultural and literary heritage of the nation

The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Macropedia, Volume 6 (1982), page 1001,

was subordinate to the Coptic Church until 1959.

A side note:  John J. Delaney, in Dictionary of Saints (Garden City, NY:  Doubleday and Company, 1980), page 239, refers to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church as

the dissident Ethiopian Church.

Is it my imagination, or do I detect an attitude?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 11, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NECTARIUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENNETH OF SCOTLAND, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF CECIL FRANCES ALEXANDER, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP THE EVANGELIST, DEACON

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your servants,

and who raised up your servants

Saint Aedesius and Saint Frumentius

to be the light of the world:

Shine, we pray, in our hearts,

that we also in our generation may show forth your praise,

who called us out of darkness into marvelous light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 98 or 98:1-4

Acts 17:22-31

Matthew 28:16-20

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 717

One response to “Feast of Sts. Aedesius and Frumentius (October 27)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of St. Justin de Jacobis and Blessed Michael Ghebre (July 14) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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