Abba Alef

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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 Alef 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. Abba Alef is commemorated on 11 Megabit (March 20).


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 theCouncil at Chalcedon. Abba Alef is said to have come to Ethiopia from the city of Caesarea, though which one is not known.

After spending some time in Axum learning and language and culture of Ethiopia, Abba Alef left the imperial capital and went to the land of the Ag'azi (possibly the Agew?) to preach the Gospel, eventually founding a monastery in Beheza. A monastery dedicated to him was later built near the ancient city of Yeha.

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