The Departure of Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus

March 11, 2022

Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus whose name translated as “The work of the Holy Spirit” was born on 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 Jesus Christ. His father’s name was Simeon, and his mother’s name was ‘Aklesya who were righteous before GOD. They remained childless in sorrow and prayer for thirty years. However, later God heard their prayer and gave them a blessed child and they named him ‘Gebre Menfes Qidus.’

In scripted his Hagiography, He was born in Egypt and lived there for 300 years in the desert. Then, he came to Ethiopia through Axum in 1129 E.C by the command 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. The King was excited and bowed to the Saint several times and invited him to stay. But the righteous father did not accept his 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 with no clothing without drinking of water and eating food. However, he was arrayed by his beard and the hair of his head that covered his whole body like a thatch and swept the ground.  He was like the fowls of heaven, for he thought nothing about the food of this world, but he hungered and thirsted for God; his sustenance was offered from heaven.

One day, the three Saints (Abba Samuel of Waldebba, Abba Anbes of the land of Hazalo and Abba Benyam of the upper land of Egypt) came to the land of Kabd, carried on their lions, to ask and see Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus ’s celebrity. When they reached there they were unable to find him. So, they had to stay there for seven days in search of him.  Then a certain lion came to the three Saints and devoured their lions. Then, they felt bitterly sad for their sorrow was revealed to our father, Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus.

Later on, he came to them with the great power accompanied by his lions and leopards. Then, he rebuked the lions and rose up the dead ones from the belly of the lions and sent them away to their former owners. During his combat, Satan came to him in the form of a black raven, pecked at his eyes, and dug out his eyeballs. Consequently, the Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus remained blind till the angles (Michael and Gabriel) healed his eyes through their breathing.

Exceeding many Prophets, Saints and unlike a man upon earth, but likened to the Angels. On October 15 he received a great covenant from God.  His departure is commemorated on March 14. His Hagiography states that, he departed from this world in Ziquala Monastery but his body is rested in Medre Kebd Monastery.

Our Righteous father Abune Gebre Menfes Qidus lived 100 years in solitude in Lake Ziquala, praying for Ethiopia. He also lived in the desert escorted by 60 lions and 60 tigers that served him. The saint lived 300 years in Egypt and 262 in Ethiopia with a total life span of 562 years on earth and died on March 14. Due to his spiritual struggle, he was entitled with these names: “the Star of the desert” and “the Head of Anchorites.”

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