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Frumentius (also Feremenatus ; * in Tire , Syria / Lebanon, † around 383) was an apostle of Ethiopia , first bishop of Axum , saint and founder of the Ethiopian Church .

Rufinus quotes Frumentius' brother Aedesius, how they accompanied their uncle Meropius to the Aksumite Empire as children (around 316) . Their ship was ambushed in the Red Sea and the crew killed, the boys sold as slaves to the king of Aksum.

The two boys gained the trust of the king, who appointed Aedesius as cupbearer and Frumentius as treasurer and gave them freedom before his death. The widowed queen made Frumentius tutor to the heir to the throne Ezana . This spread Christianity in the country through Christian merchants. When Ezana came of age, Frumentius accompanied Aedesius on his return journey to Tire as far as Alexandria , where he asked Athanasius , the patriarch of Alexandria, to send a bishop and priest to Ethiopia.

Athanasius saw in Frumentius the suitable person for this task and consecrated him in 343 as bishop. Frumentius returned to Ethiopia, became bishop of Axum and baptized Ezana, who had meanwhile become king, built numerous churches and spread Christianity in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopians gave Frumentius the nickname Abunä (our father) or the title Abba Salama (father of peace), which traditionally belongs to the head of the Ethiopian Church . In a letter to King Ezana and his brother Saizanas, Emperor Constantius demanded in vain that Frumentius be replaced by the Arian bishop Theophilos .

The Protestant Church in Germany commemorates Frumentius on October 26th , the Roman Catholic Church celebrates its feast on October 17th , the Orthodox on November 30th and the Copts on December 18th .

According to Ethiopian tradition, Frumentius created the first translation of the New Testament from the Koine into the church language of Old Ethiopian .


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