St Frumentius and Aedeius

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These fourth century saints were probably brothers, from Tyre in Lebanon. They were shipwrecked on the Eritrean coast while on a voyage on the Red Sea, and taken to Axum in Ethiopia which was the capital of a powerful kingdom. The royal family were curious about them and welcomed them into the court - where they were both given influential posts.

When the king died they stayed as part of the queen's court. She permitted them to introduce Christianity to the country, and open trade between Ethiopia and the west.

Frumentius appealed to Saint Athanasius to send missionaries to the country from Alexandria. He later was consecrated bishop himself and St Aedeius became a priest. They converted many, including the princes Ezana and Sheazana, and became known as the Fathers of Christianity in Ethiopia. The Orthodox church in Axim is descended directly from them.

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