Frumentius - Encyclopedia




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FRUMENTIUS (c. 300-c. 360), the founder of the Abyssinian church, traditionally identified in Abyssinian literature with Abba Salama or Father of Peace (but see Ethiopia), was a native of Phoenicia. According to the 4th-century historian Rufinus (x. 9), who gives Aedesius himself as his authority, a certain Tyrian, Meropius, accompanied by his kinsmen Frumentius and Aedesius, set out on an expedition to "India," but fell into the hands of Ethiopians on the shore of the Red Sea and, with his ship's crew, was put to death. The two young men were taken to the king at Axum, where they were well treated and in time obtained great influence. With the help of Christian merchants who visited the country Frumentius gave Christianity a firm footing, which was strengthened when in 326 he was consecrated bishop by Athanasius of Alexandria, who in his Epistola ad Constantinum mentions the consecration, and gives some details of the history of Frumentius's mission. Later witnesses speak of his fidelity to the homoousian during the Arian controversies. Aedesius returned to Tyre, where he was ordained presbyter.

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