From The Book of the Saints of the Ethiopian Church
Salama, Enlightener of Aksum
And on this day also died Abba Salama, the
Revealer of the Light, the Bishop of Ethiopia; now his history is as follows: A certain
man from the country of the Greeks, a master of learning, whose name was Merpes
(Meropius?), came wishing to see the country of Ethiopia, and he had with him
two youths of his family, and the name of one was Fere Menatos (Frumentius), and
that of the other was Adesyos (Aedesius); now there are some who call him
"Sidrakos." And he arrived in a ship at the shore of the Sea of Ethiopia, and he
saw all the beautiful things which his heart desired, and as he was wishing to return to
his country, enemies rose up against him and killed him, and all those who were with him.
And these two youths were left [alive], and the men of the city made them captives, and
taught them the work of war, and took them as a present to the King of Aksum whose name
was "Alameda." And the king made Adyos (sic) director of his household,
and Fere Menatos keeper of the Laws and Archives of Aksum; and after a few days the king
died, and left a little son with his mother, and the Azgaga reigned with him. And Adesyos
and Fere Menatos brought up the children, and taught them little by little the Faith of
Christ, and they built for them a place of prayer, and they gathered together to it the
children and they taught them psalms and hymns. And when they had brought the boy to the
stage of early manhood, they asked him to dismiss them to their native country; and
Adyoses (sic) departed to the country of Tyre to see his kinsfolk, and Fere Menatos
departed to Alexandria, to the Archbishop Athanasius, and he found that he had been
restored to his office. And he related everything which had happened unto him because of
their Faith in the country of Ethiopia, and how the people believed on Christ, but had
neither bishops nor priests. And then Abba Athanasius appointed Fere Menatos Bishop of the
country of Ethiopia, and sent him away with great honour. And he arrived in the country of
Ethiopia during the reign of Abreha and Asbeha, and he preached the peace of Christ in all
the regions thereof, and because of this he was called "Abba Salama." And after
he had saluted the men of Ethiopia he died in peace. Salutation, salutation, I say, with
joyful voice to Abba Salama.
(for Rufinus's account of the same incidents, click here)
And on this day died Saint Abba Pantaleon of the cell. This holy man was the son of noble folk, who were among the great ones of Rome, and who sat on the right hand of the emperor. When his mother had weaned him she took him to a monastery where he grew up in wisdom and exhortation, and fasting and prayer. Then he traveled to the country of Ethiopia with Nine Saints in the days of 'Al'Ameda the king, the son of Sal Adab the king, and they lived in Bet Katin. Then they separated, and Abba Pantaleon went up to the top of a little mountain, and he made himself a cell which was five cubits long, and two cubits wide, and three cubits deep; its roof was a single stone, and it had no door, but only a small opening. And he stood on his feet for a period of five and forty years, without sitting down, and without lying down to sleep. He ate and drank so little that his skin cleaved to his bones, and his eyelashes were wom away by his tears. And he continued to work innumerable miracles in healing the sick and in opening the eyes of the blind. One day he planted a tree at dawn and by the time the evening came it had grown very tall, and had dried up, and his disciple had prepared (?) it and burned it, and tied up the charcoal in his garment and taken it for the censer. When Kaleb was going forth to wage war against another king, he came to Abba Pantaleon and embraced his cell, and told him his trouble. And Abba Pantaleon said, "Go in peace, for God is able to do all things, and He shall give thee victory over thy enemy"; and to return safely and in peace. When Kaleb the king had come to the country of Saba, he made war on the people thereof, and he slew them all and conquered them, and there were not left any who were not scattered like leaves. And all those who saw Saint Abba Pantaleon testified concerning him, saying, "We saw Abba Pantaleon standing with us in the battle, and he was overthrowing our enemies." When Kaleb the king returned, having conquered the King of Judah, he forsook his kingdom, and became a monk with Pantaleon. When Saint Abba Pantaleon had finished his strife, our Lord Jesus Christ came to him and made a covenant with him concerning him that should call upon his name, and celebrate his commemoration, and write an account of his contending; and He said unto him, "It is now sufficient for thee; go to thy rest." And straightway his bones broke and he died in peace and was buried in his cell.
Salutation to Pantaleon as the perfect man.
Salutation, twofold, to Pantaleon who caused the death of 5050 warriors in the battle.
Salutation to Pantaleon in his cell.
Church of St. Pantaleon on a hill above Aksum Gospel Book depicting St. Mark, Church of St. Pantaleon, Aksum
And on this day also is commemorated our holy Father Aragawi, who is surnamed Za-Mikael. This holy man became a guide to the servants of God on the road. And he went up to the holy Debre Damo holding the tail of a serpent and there he fought countless noble fights. And God graciously made a covenant with him concerning the man who should call upon his name, and the man who should celebrate his commemoration, and then he was hidden from the face of death by the grace of God. He established among his children the Rules for the Monastic Life, which he had learned in the house of his father Pachomius. Salutation to Za-Mikael who was surnamed "Aragawi."
Abuna Aragawi ascending the Amba of Debre Damo
And on this day also is celebrated the commemoration of the blessed Saint Abba Garima. The father of this saint was Emperor of Rome, and his name was Masfeyanos; the name of his mother was Sefengeya, and she was barren. And having besought our holy Lady, the Virgin Mary, the Godbearer, she gave her this son; and she called his name "Isaac" (later renamed Garima). When he had grown up she taught him the Books of the Church, and then Isaac was appointed deacon. And the men of Rome having made him emperor, he sat and judged justly and righteously for seven years. And when Saint Abba Pantaleon of the cell heard [of him], he sent to him, saying, "O my son Isaac, let the dead bury their dead, and do thou come and seek the kingdom of my Lord Jesus Christ"; and Abba Garima, having heard him, forsook the kingdom, and went forth by night. Then the angel Saint Gabriel appeared, and he carried him on his shining wing and at the third hour brought him into the hand of Abba Pantaleon. Now the length of the road was a journey of ten months and four days. The King of Ethiopia at that time was Alameda. When Abba Pantaleon saw Saint Isaac he embraced him, and kissed him, and then he arrayed him in the garb of the monk; and the saint fasted and prayed so strenuously that his flesh congealed on his bones. Then he went to a place [in] Madra (?) and he lived there for three and twenty years, working countless signs and wonders, and casting out devils, and healing the sick. One day he sowed wheat at dawn, and reaped it in the evening, and some of it he offered as an offering; and on the following day he took the remainder up to the threshing floor, and he trod out the sheaves of wheat, and obtained therefrom seventy-seven measures of grain. And he also planted a vine shoot on a rock, and it took root, and put forth leaves and bore fruit immediately. And once when he was writing a letter, and the sun was about to set, he adjured the sun to stand still and it did so until he had finished his letter. And the spittle which he spat out remaineth unto this day, and is a means for healing the sick; and once when a reed fell from his hand, it took root that very day.... And having finished his good course, our Redeemer appeared unto him, and promised him that [He would forgive the sins of] him that should call upon his name, and celebrate his commemoration. And straightway he was caught up in a shining cloud and disappeared. Salutation to Abba Garima.
the Amba of Debre Damo climbing Debre Damo without St. The monastery today
St. Aragawi's serpent
Yared the Hymnographer
And on this day (May 19th) also died Yared, the poet and hymn writer, who was like unto the Seraphim. This man was a kinsman of Abba Gideon a priest of Aksum, which city held the first church that was built in the country of Ethiopia, and in [this church] was first preached the Faith of our Lord Christ, and it was consecrated (i.e. dedicated) in the name of our holy Lady, the Virgin Mary, the God-bearer. When this Abba Gideon began to teach the blessed Yared the Psalms of David, he was unable to keep (his attention) with him for many days at a time, and then when he beat him, and made him to suffer pain, he fled into the desert and took up his abode under a tree. And he saw a caterpillar which was climbing up the tree, and when it had climbed up half way it fell down upon the ground; and this it did many times, because of the difficulty of climbing the tree. And when Saint Yared saw the perseverance of the caterpillar, he repented in his soul and returned to his teacher and said unto him, "Forgive me, O father, and dispose of me as thou wish."
And his teacher, a spiritual man, received him, and having asked God with tears, He opened the thoughts of Yared's understanding, and he learned in one day the Books of the Old and the New Testaments; and then he was made a deacon. Now in those days there was no singing of hymns and spiritual songs in a loud voice to well-defined tunes, but men murmured them in a low voice. And God, wishing to raise up to Himself a memorial, sent unto him three birds from the Garden of Edom, and they held converse with Yard in the speech of man, and they caught him up, and took him to the heavenly Jerusalem, and there he learned the songs of the Four and Twenty Priests of heaven. And when he returned to himself, he went into the First Church in Aksum, at the third hour of the day, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Hallelujah to the Father, Hallelujah to the Son, Hallelujah to the Holy Spirit." The first Hallelujah he made the foundation, and called it "Zion." In the second Hallelujah he showed forth how Moses carried out the work of the Tabernacle, and this he called a "Song of the heights." And when they heard the sound of his voice, the king, and the queen, and the bishop, and the priests, and the king's nobles, ran to the church, and they spent the day in listening to him. And he arranged hymns for each season of the year, for summer and winter, and spring and autumn, and for festivals and Sabbaths, and for the days of the Angels, the Prophets, the Martyrs and the Righteous, in three modes, that is to say, the first mode to be used on ordinary days, the second mode to be used on fast days and days of mourning, and the third mode to be used on the great festivals. And there were not lacking in these three modes any of the sounds that are made by men, and birds, and beasts.
One day whilst Saint Yared was singing by the footstool of King Gebre Meskel, the king (died A.D. 1344) was so deeply absorbed [in listening to] his voice, that he drove his spear into the flat part of Yared's foot with such force that much blood spurted out; but Saint Yared was not aware of it until he had finished his song. And when the king saw this he was dismayed, and he drew his spear out of his foot, and said unto him, "Ask me whatever reward thou wishest for in return for this thy blood which hath been shed"; and Saint Yared said unto him, "Swear to me that thou wilt not refuse me." And when the king had sworn Saint Yared said unto him, "Send me away that I may become a monk." When the king heard this he was exceedingly sad, and his nobles likewise, but he was afraid to prevent him because of his oath. And when Saint Yared had gone into the church, he stood before the Tabernacle of Zion, and when he had said the prayer from the beginning, "Holy, and honorable, and glorious, and blessed, and praised, and exalted" to the end thereof, he was raised above the ground the space of a cubit. Then he departed to the desert of the south, and he lived there in fasting and prayer; and he mortified his flesh exceedingly, and finished his strife there. And God gave him the promise concerning the man who should invoke his name or celebrate his commemoration; and he died in peace and the place of his grave in the south is not known to this day. Salutation to Yared.
St. Yared with King Gebre Meskel