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St. Frumentius was still a child when his uncle, a Christian philosopher of Tyre in Phoenicia, took him and his brother Edesius on a voyage to Ethiopia.
In the course of their voyage the vessel anchored at a certain port, and the barbarians of that country slew all the crew and passengers, except the two children.
Because of their youth and beauty they were taken to the king at Axuma, who, charmed with the wit and sprightliness of the two boys, took special care of their education, and later made Edesius his cup-bearer and Frumentius, who was a little older, his treasurer and secretary of state. The king, on his deathbed, thanked them for their services and in reward gave them their freedom.
After his death the queen begged them to remain at court and assist her in the government of the state until the young prince came of age. They agreed to the request and used their influence to spread Christianity.
When the young king reached his majority, Edesius desired to return to Tyre, and Frumentius accompanied him as far as Alexandria. There he begged St. Athanasius, its patriarch, to send a bishop to the country where they had spent many years; and the patriarch, considering him the best possible candidate for this office, in the year 328 consecrated him bishop for the Ethiopians.
Vested with his new title he gained great numbers to the faith by his discourses and miracles, and the entire nation embraced Christianity with its young king, thus fulfilling a famous prophecy of Isaiah, uttered 800 years before Christ:
“Thus saith the Lord, the labor of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there.” (Isaiah 45:14)
St. Frumentius continued to feed and defend his flock until his death in about the year 383.