Abba Aftse

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Note: This article or section represents an Oriental Orthodox (Non-Chalcedonian) perspective, which may differ from an Eastern Orthodox (Chalcedonian) understanding.

Abba Aftse was one of the Nine Saints credited in Ethiopia with enculturating and spreading the Orthodox Faith in the country following its official conversion by St. Frumentius of Axum.

Life

It is said that the Nine Saints arrived in Axum, the first great capital city of Ethiopia, in 480. They came from various parts of the East Roman Empire, having fled the persecutions of the Orthodox who remained faithful to the teaching of St. Cyril of Alexandria after Chalcedon. In the account of his life preserved by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Abba Aftse is said to be from Asia, quite possibly the region around Edessa given his Syriac-origin name. He traveled to Ethiopia with Abba Gerima (also known as Abba Yisihaq), with whom he became one of the most prominent of the Nine Saints.

After spending some time in Axum learning and language and culture of Ethiopia, Abba Aftse left the imperial capital together with Abba Gerima to preach the Gospel in the Ethiopian countryside, namely in Belesat, Muja, Debre Genet, Medera, and finally the ancient city of Yeha. Abba Aftse was well received in Yeha and he was able to convert its pagan temple into a church. The Saint gathered a community of disciples around him in Yeha and remained there until his death.

Commemoration

Abba Aftse is commemorated together with Abba Guba on 29 Ginbot (5 June).

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