To the Church at Axum—
Greetings in the name of our Most Magnificent Lord Jesus Christ, the one True Messiah. I remain ever your bond servant, the faithful Fr. Frumentius of Tyre, Abba Salama, Father of Peace.
This letter is written to the gracious people of Axum in celebration of Our Lord’s work throughout the land. Today, King Erazanes establishes churches at Axum and decrees this land a Christian nation forever.
Remember your rich heritage. Nearly 300 years ago, a eunuch of the Queen’s court traveled to Jerusalem to worship the one true God. On his journey home, the Lord sent Philip, an apostle, to his side to explain the words of Isaiah the prophet and by the mercy of God his eyes were opened. He found Jesus, the one true Messiah, was baptized, and brought this message back to Axum. This was the first divine intervention into Ethiopia’s history. And the word of the gospel spread throughout Ethiopia.
Just as our brother in the faith Joseph, son of Jacob, was sold into slavery to fulfill his God-ordained purpose, so did the Lord bring my brother Edesius and me to Axum, through slavery to the King, to accomplish the intention of God’s heart for this great nation. The Lord watched over us and protected us, granting us favor with the King. Then as we grew, God’s will was accomplished in our lives. We tutored the King’s son Prince Erazanes, trusting our Lord for his faith. In obedience, we shared the good news of the kingdom of God with many. This was the second divine intervention into Ethiopia’s history. And the word of the gospel spread again throughout Ethiopia.
Now in this year of your country’s historic movement into Christendom, I encourage all believers to continue in the faith that was established of old. Never lose sight of the missionary calling that God has set forth for you. Exercise your faith with perseverance and love. Continue in this work. Pray for the church in Axum.
Welcome our brothers Lemata, Yueti, and Sigautu to the brotherhood who confirmed their service to you and to the church at Axum. Send them out into the countryside with the good news of the gospel and the prayers of the faithful. Praise to the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Frementius of Tyre, Bishop of Axum
4 April, 340 A.D.
Notes: Axum was the capital of ancient Ethiopia (also known as Abyssinia, which lies south of Egypt on the western African coast). Frementius was the first bishop of Axum and Christianity was established as Ethiopia's national religion in the mid 300s A.D.
References: Catholic Encyclopedia
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