Turin - The symbolic fresco of Twelve apostles in church Chiesa di San Dalmazzo by Enrico Reffo (1914).

Titled “Abuna” or “the father” in Ethiopian history, Saint Frumentius holds a monumental place in the Christian heritage of the country, having been sent there by St. Athanasius himself. Originating from Tyre in Lebanon, Frumentius’s life took a dramatic turn during his childhood.

As recounted by a 4th-century historian, who relied on the account of St. Frumentius’ brother, St. Aedesius, both boys embarked on a sea voyage to Ethiopia with their uncle Metropius. Unfortunately, their ship was attacked when it anchored at a Red Sea port, resulting in the massacre of the entire crew, spare for Frumentius and Aedesius, who were then enslaved and taken to the King of Aksum.

Their fate took a turn for the better at the royal court in Aksum, where they quickly rose to positions of influence. St. Aedesius became the royal cupbearer, while St. Frumentius served as a secretary. It was in this capacity that they began to spread the teachings of Christianity.

Upon the succession of Abreha and Asbeha to the Ethiopian throne, St. Frumentius embarked on a journey to Alexandria in Egypt. His mission was to request that St. Athanasius appoint a missionary to Ethiopia. Instead, he himself was consecrated as a bishop and returned to Aksum, where he converted numerous individuals to Christianity. Today, Frumentius and St. Aedesius are venerated as the apostles of Ethiopia, having played a crucial role in the establishment of Christianity in the region.

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