Frumentius, St.

, a Romish saint, is usually called the Apostle of Ethiopia, on account of his having first propagated Christianity in that country, in the fourth century. He was the nephew of one Meropius, a philosopher of Tyre, who being induced to travel to Ethiopia, carried with him his two nephews, Frumentius and Edesius, with whose education he had been entrusted. In the course of their voyage homewards, the vessel touched at a certain port to take in provisions and fresh water, and the whole of the passengers were murdered by the barbarians of the country, except the two children, whom they presented to the king, who resided at Axuma, formerly one of the greatest cities of the East. The king, being charmed with the wit and sprightliness of the two boys, had them carefully | educated, and when grown up, made Edesius his cup-bearer, and Frumentius, who was the elder, his treasurer and secretary of state, entrusting him with all the public writings and accounts. Nor were they less highly honoured after the king’s death by the queen, who was regent during her son’s minority. Frumentius had the principal management of affairs, and soon turned his attention to higher objects than the politics of the country. He met with some Roman merchants who traded there, and having by their means discovered some Christians who were in the kingdom, he encouraged them to associate for the purposes of religious worship; and at length erected a church for their use; and certain natives, instructed in the gospel, were converted. On the young king’s accession to the government, Frumentius, though with much reluctance on the part of the king and his mother, obtained leave to return to his own country. Edesius accordingly returned to Tyre; but Frumentius, on his arrival at Alexandria, communicated his adventures to Athanasius the bishop, and informed him of the probability of converting the country to Christianity, if missionaries were sent thither. On mature consideration, Athanasius told him, that none was so fit for the office as himself. He consecrated him therefore first bishop of the Indians, and Frumentius returning to a people who had been acquainted with his integrity and capacity, preached the gospel with much success, and erected many churches, although the emperor Constantius endeavoured to introduce Arianism, and actually ordered that Frumentius should be deposed, and an Arian bishop appointed; but the country was happily out of his reach. Frumentius is supposed to have died about the year 360. The Abyssinians honour him as the apostle of the country of the Axumites, which is the most considerable part of their empire. 1


Butler’s Saints. —Milner’s Ch. Hist.