“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints” (Psalm 116:15)
The remarkable and astonishing life of chosen children of God is most commemorated in their departure day. After their exhausting and tremendous diligence, perseverance and triumph of evil, Saints depart to the heavens by the praise of Angels in glory and inherit the Kingdom of God.
Our country has welcomed most celebrated and prominent Saints who has suffered much for the salvation of us, performed many miraculous, plead and made prostration for we would not even see the glimpse of fire of hell. Ethiopians celebrate our Righteous father Abune Geber Menfese Qidus in his departure day Tikimet 5 E.C. (October 16 G.C.)
Our fathers story begins before his conception from his mother Ecclesia, who was married to Simon from the family of Benjamin. These God fearing righteous people at first could not have any child, and according to the Jewish, culture barren families were considered to be sinful. Ecclesia had to pray for 30 years to receive answer from God. Once upon a day, a voice came from the picture announced that her prayers have been heard and she will have a son who will be a Saint and his prayers will heal and protect many people. On hearing the voice, Ecclesia prostrated and worshiped the Lord. Whilst returning to her home, she immediately informed her husband Simon and on Megabit (March) 29 their son was conceived. Nine months later, our father was born on Tahesas (December) 29. On his birth day, the Angel Gabriel appeared and named him “Gebre Menfes Qidus,” which means “Slave of the Holy Spirit.”
At his birth day, he went down from the lap of his mother, worshipped, made prostration and said “One for The Father, One for The Son, and One for The Holy Spirit.” He also thanked the Lord for bringing him from darkness to light. Neighborhood people was amazed by this miraculous work of God for this child was able to speak on the same day of his birth before even the consumption of any food or drink. On wards this day, his mother Ecclesia neither breast fed nor carried her child as he was able to walk on his own. Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus never once ate or drink in his entire life.
Three years had passed when the Archangel Gabriel was revealed to his family for he would take our father for a mission God had ordered. The Angel took him to the heaven with his wings and when he arrived, God blessed him. He then ordered the Archangel Gabriel to take him to the His Mother Saint Virgin Mary, where she kissed and blessed him. After that, the Angel took him to a where Adam and many other Saints lived. And then to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for they blessed him and thanked The Lord for creating Gebre Menfes Qidus. In his return to God, he was told not to fear as Archangels Saint Michael and Saint Gabriel.
Our patron father has then after lived in the monastery in Egypt by the leadership of Saint Gabriel under the instruction of Abba Zemede Birhan for he was taught all the 15 prayers of the prophets, all the psalms, and the Old and New Testaments.
At the age of 12 years old, Gebre Menfes Qidus became a deacon and a priest when he reached 20 years old. By then, Archangel Gabriel took him to the heavens again where he received blessings from God. It was then that the Lord told him about his healings of many by his prayers. His youth hood was filled with fasting, prayers and worship with 4000 times of prostration. He healed more than 1000 people in a day.
Abune Menfes Qidus is a Saint bestowed heavenly lions and tigers from heaven, for they would feed on the soil of his feet. The righteous father wore his long hear and beard for covering his nude body. This father was not only loved and venerated by the people but was even followed by priests and bishops seeking to receive his blessings. For this, he flowed to the dessert filled with wild animals in escape of all the fame and honor. Instead of attacking, the animals knelt and bowed for him.
Another miracle happened at his 100th of age whilst the devil came in the form of a bird and told him if he can give him water to drink. Our righteous father Kudus pointed to the liquid inside his eyes. The bird poked both eyes and made him blind. But it was not later that Archangels Saint Michael and Saint Gabriel saw and replaced his eyes with heavenly eyes. Abune Gebre Menfes Kudus had lived in the forest for 300 years praying and praising God. so then, “The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit descended from the heavens into the forest carried by the Cheribiem and surrounded by the Seraphim. Lord and Savior Jesus Christ appeared with His Holy Mother Saint Virgin Mary and told him that his prayers have been heard and to ask his desire. Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus replied that he seeks to be an intercessor after his death so that anybody asking for anything by his name, will be granted his/her wish. Our Lord granted his wish and even told him that many people in Abyssinia needed his help and ordered Archangel Gabriel to show him the road to Zuquala as the people were living in evil and sin.
Gebre Menfes Kudus was disturbed by what he saw and went into lake Tana where half his body was submerged into the water. He prayed continuously for 40 days. God sent an angel to tell Gebre Menfes Kudus that his prayers have been accepted and that God has forgiven the people of Zuquala. Gebre Menfes Kudus asked for the forgiveness of all the people of Abysinia and not only the people of Zuquala. Therefore, he did not accept the message from the angel. He stayed for 70 more years inside the water of Lake Tana. After he spent a total of 100 years inside the water, Jesus Christ came to him together with the Virgin Mary and all the Angels. Jesus Christ then told Gebre Menfes Kudus that he can do whatever he wishes and that he has the authority to forgive anybody including Abyssinians or others around the world. In addition, you have the power to remain hidden even from angels and archangels. From now on your life is equivalent to that of an angel.
Our father was saddened by watching them and so went to Lake Tana, and submerged half of his body in to it. He remained inside for 40 years inside the lake and then was told by the angel sent from God to let him know about his prayers being answered and the people were forgiven. But the righteous father had another request to God requiring the salvation of all the Abyssinian people. Not accepting the message of the angel, he stayed inside the water for another 70 years and after a total of 100 years, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with His Mother Saint Mary and all the Angels. Lord told him he would forgive do anybody including Abyssinians or others around the world. In addition, gave him power to remain hidden even from angels and archangels. It was here that our father was told from then on, his life is equivalent to that of an angel.
Many miracles have been made in this righteous father’s life. Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus is a Saint who carried Holy Trinity on his back. He is the one who is able to save more than 400,000 people with his prayer in our country by the will and power of God. On wards his marvelous work, Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus went to Asia by the order of Lord Jesus. There he broke statues of idols and saved 400, 000 souls who were his enemies by first suspending himself under a tree upside down by a rope before Satan cut it attempting to kill him but was saved by the Archangel Saint Michael for he caught him before landing to a cliff. Our father then stood upside down beating his tooth with a stone for forty days.
This Saint has suffered much on wards also after returning from Asia to Abyssinia. Once on May 3rd he got very sick until Righteous Fathers Abune Andreas and other Monks were worried. Then they witnessed bright light shining over him with a very long white beard at his departure day. There was also a great thunder from the heavens and Lord Jesus Christ descended over his body. White candles also descended from the heavens. Bright things like moons, stars, and suns were being tossed around. The brightness was seven times brighter than the light of the sun. The hills were shaking and there was an earthquake. Loud noises were being heard. Lord Jesus then said to him, “my beloved son Gebre Menfes Qidus, whoever mentions your name, read your story books, writes about, tells about you, heard about you, celebrates your day using your name will be blessed. I will give him mercy even though he may be surrounded by fire he will not be harmed. If he is in a flood he will not be in any danger. Whoever gives food to the poor in your name will receive heavenly bread and will not hunger or thirst on earth. Even if he is a sinner, his sins will be forgiven if he asks in your name. If he gives wheat for holy communion, he will receive eternal communion in heaven. Whoever gives oil to the Church in your name will be in the presence of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in heaven. He will also be with the Saints where light is twelve times the brightness of the sun.” Hearing this vow, Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus begged our Lord to forgive anyone who remembers him. and the Lord said, “I will give mercy for them and when your soul departs from your body soon there will be twelve prizes waiting for you in heaven.”
On his departure day, our father Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus received three prizes from the hand of Archangel Michael, three prizes from Archangel Gabriel, three prizes from Soraphael, and three from Churbael. He was surrounded by 10,000 sources of light on each side – in front, behind, to his left and to his right. For living 562 years naked, The Lord Jesus Christ dressed him with the clothing of light. “Because you walked on your bare feet throughout your life, I gave you horses that look like lightening,” He said to him. Right after Abune Gebre Menfes Kudus death, heavenly voices were heard surrounding his body, conferring that his body be transported to Jerusalem and should be buried on the right-hand-side of the place where Jesus Christ was buried. Archangel Saint Michael then appeared holding twelve prizes in his hand and surrounded by thousands of angels. They took the body and buried it in Jesusalem. In scriptures have confirmed monks hearing the voices and witnessing the vision.
Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus has continued pleading Lord Jesus Christ to whilst his arrival in heaven for He could have mercy on the people of Abyssinia. Lord Jesus Christ had answered him all his requested by his heart will be granted.
Source: Hagiography of Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus and Ethiopian Synaxarium