Saint Yared, the Poet and Hymn Writer

May 18, 2023

The day that the Ethiopian poet and hymn writer departed, Genbot 11 (May 19) is blessed and so we shall commemorate it in celebration at Holy Church. Saint Yared rose at the coming of the Nine Saints to Ethiopia. Their Holy scriptures translated by the Saint have huge influence on his writings. He has used the Mysteries and their ideas that he found in their book utilizing it in his language.

Saint Yared has first learned holy scriptures from his teacher Abba Gideon, a priest of ‘Aksum, who is also kinsman of his mother Christina. Whilst his father Isaac died when he was seven years old, Yared’s mother took him to his uncle Gedeon. After his remarkable discovery of truth at his voyage to “Maykrah” through a worm’s effort in consuming a fruit at a tree where he rested, he was able to comprehend a word of God. Not only this, God releveled the Angel’s melody for him at the heaven where not only his soul but his body was present. With that descant, He praised God at Axum, in a Church of Zion saying, “Hallelujah to the Father, Hallelujah to the Son, Hallelujah to the Holy Spirit.”

Saint Yared’s three types of rhyme “Geeze, Ezile and Araraye” were written after his return from the heavens. He has prepared the songs for each seasons for summer, winter, spring, autumn, for festivals and Sabbaths, 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. His songs of heights brought the meeting with the King Gebre Meskel and the Queen.

The Emperor was marveled by his melody so dearly that he did not even notice his spare that entered Saint Yared’s foot. Saint Yared, the king, the Queen, all the soldiers and laities gathered to hear the yaredic melody was so drown to his rhyme that they did not even notice his bleeding.  But when King Gebre Meskel saw his spear on Yared’s foot, he took it out right away and in return for the damage he asked him, “Ask me what ever reward you wish for in return for this thy blood which has been shed”; and Saint Yared said to him, “Swear to me that you will not refuse me.”  When the king had sworn Saint Yared said to him, “Send me away that I may become a monk.”

The king as well as his nobles likewise were exceedingly sad when he heard this. Afraid to prevent his oath, the king permitted Saint Yared’s leave.

At his arrival at the church, Saint Yared stood before the Tabernacle of Zion and 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.

Saint Yared departed to the desert of the south, where he lived in fasting and prayer. He was diligent until his flesh mortified exceedingly and finished his strife there. God vowed to him salvation for any man who plead in his name or celebrate his commemoration. Soon after he deported and to where is still mysterious until this day.

His work though is shining till these days for they are the key instrument at the service of our Holy Church within our daily prayer, Divine Liturgy and Melodic hymns in our fast and celebrations.

May his prayer be with us; Amen!

Source: The Ethiopian Synaxarium