July 30: Feast of St. Justin de Jacobis, C.M.

by | Jul 28, 2017 | Formation

Some Background on Christianity in Ethiopia and Eritrea

  • Based on biblical references and traditional accounts, we can say that the Christian faith was introduced in the coastal areas of Eritrea during the first centuries of Christianity.
  • From 1555 to 1632, many Jesuit missionaries were sent to Ethiopia to restore the unity of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, these missionaries had little understanding of the culture and the ecclesiastical and liturgical customs of the Ethio-Eritrean Church, and were eventually driven out of the country altogether.
  • From 1637 to 1642, Capuchin Friars attempted to enter Eritrea and Ethiopia. But they were arrested and killed by the civil authorities in the area where they entered the country.
  • Other Franciscan missionaries tried to enter from 1700 to 1714. They were imprisoned however, and later stoned to death near Gondar.
  • The Church of Rome never gave up. An Ethiopian, Ghiorghis Ghebreigziabher, was appointed bishop and given the name Tobia. He was a student of the Propaganda Fide in Rome. He was sent as Bishop of Adulis and arrived in Eritrea with his companion. Both worked hard to establish the Catholic Church once again. However, this time too, Abuna Tobia was forced to leave the country and flee to Cairo in 1797.

Beginning around 1840, Father Justin de Jacobis, C.M., began providing spiritual assistance to the people, and the people welcomed him and his guidance. Read more in the SlideShare presentation below.

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