Abba Gerima

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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 Gerima 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 Gerima is commemorated on 17 Sene (June 24).


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 the Council at Chalcedon. In the account of his life preserved by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Abba Gerima is said to have come to Ethiopia with either Abba Aftse or Abba P'entelewon.

After spending some time at Abba P'entelewon's monastery in Axum learning and language and culture of Ethiopia, Abba Gerima left the city for Mendera, where he preached the Gospel and established a monastery. He stayed in the area for 17 years (sometimes said to have been 23 years) working miracles, exorcising the possessed, and caring for the sick. Emperor Gebre Mesqel later built a church for him in Mendera, which he endowed richly.

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