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Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus - አቡነ ገብረ መንፈስ ቅዱስ “the Star of the desert”

Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus [means the salve of the Holy Spirit] was born on Tahisas 29 [January 7] in 829 E.C. His date of birth and conception coincided with the conception and date of birth of Our Lord and Savior Eyesus Kirstos. His father’s name was Simeon, and his mother’s name was ‘Aklesya who were righteous before GOD. They remained childless in moan and prayer for a period of thirty years. However, later God heard their prayer and gave them a blessed child and they named him Gebre Menfes Qidus.

According to his Gadl (Hagiography), the saint was born in Egypt and lived there 300 years in the desert of Egypt. Then, he came to Ethiopia via Axum in 1129 E.C by the order of God and lived in the wilderness of Ethiopia escorted by 60 lions and 60 tigers that served him. In 1168 E.C he visited King Lalibela, to discuss church issues. King Lalibela was excited and bowed to the saint many times and requested of him to stay with him. But the saint did not accept the king’s request, instead he promised that he will live in mount Ziquala and will not depart from Ethiopia. He, then, went to the land of Ziquala, the place later on became the great monastery of the saint. Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus lived in mount Ziquala for 265 years with no clothing and drinking no water and eating no food, exceeding many prophets and saints, and unlike a man upon earth, but likened to the angels. On Tikemet 5 [October 15] he received a great covenant from God.

The reason for his commemoration on the 5th date of every Ethiopian month is:

  • The entry of the saint from Egypt to Ethiopia;

  • The day on which he went out from the lake where he received the covenant from God;

  • The day on which he raised the dead lions;

  • The first mass of his church built in his name

His departure is commemorated on Megabit 5/March 14. His Gadl states that, he departed from this world in Ziquala Monastery but his body is rested in Medre Kebd Monastery.

May the prayer of Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus be up on us!

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