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Adrian, of Canterbury  

Ness Creighton

Christian saint, North African–born abbot active in England, was a well-known scholar and the abbot of St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury, England. Another form of his name is “Hadrian.”

According to the medieval English writer the Venerable Bede Adrian was a Berber native from a Greek speaking family in North Africa likely in Libya Cyrenaica who had fled the Arab invasions into the region when he was about ten years of age evacuating to Naples which was then controlled by the Byzantine Empire At an unknown age though still quite young Adrian joined one of the Benedictine monasteries in the area and would eventually become abbot of a monastery near Naples called Monasterium Hiridanum also given as Niridanum and both may be errors for Nisidanum the Niridian monastery on the Isle of Nisida in the Bay of Naples Bede describes Adrian as being by nation an African well versed in ...



Anaïs Wion

Ethiopian Christian saint, was born in the region of Serae (in present-day southern Eritrea) on 21 Hamle under the name of Ma’eqebe Egzi. His father, the makwannen (governor) Krestos Mo’a, and his mother, Senna Heywet, entrusted him to the care of his maternal uncle Dan’el, a member of a ruling family of Eastern Tigray and abbot of Qorqor Maryam monastery in Gar‘alta who went by the monastic name of Zakaryas. He conferred on his nephew the monastic vows and his monastic name, Ewostatewos.

There are several hypotheses as to where Ewostatewos first settled after he left Qorqor Maryam One theory suggests that he settled in Serae which became the core of the Eustatean monastic network although it seems strange that Ewostatewos would have freely chosen this remote and non Christianized area to begin his preaching His first foundation would have thus been Debre Serabi Another hypothesis sustained by the very ...



Mussie Tesfagiorgis

renowned Eritrean saint of the Orthodox Tewahdo Church and key member of the Ewostatean religious movement was born in a village called Enkeregerga in the old province of Serae According to oral literature his father Yirdeane Egzie died shortly before Filippos was born When Filippos was still a child his mother Megdelawit is said to have been inspired by a vision received by a local monk to abandon worldly life and enter a monastery to live as a nun sending her son to another local monastery After some time Christ is said to have appeared to Filippos and to have ordered him to go to Debre Tserabi monastery where Abba Bekimos a pupil of the famous Abune Ewostatewos lived Bekimos became his spiritual father and Filippos eventually received recognition as an accomplished priest monk After this Filippos wandered mainly in tropical Barka and the Gash lowlands where he continued preaching ...


Fulgentius, of Ruspe  

Gregory Hays

, Christian theologian, bishop, and saint, was born at Thelepte, in modern-day Tunisia, to an upper-class family. His father, Claudius, died soon after Fulgentius’s birth, and he and his younger brother were raised by their mother, Mariana. As a young man he embarked on an administrative career but abandoned it to enter a monastery, subsequently moving to a second one headed by a longtime friend, Felix. As a Trinitarian Catholic, Fulgentius was involved in the ongoing conflict with other Christians (often referred to as Arians), who held different views on the nature of Jesus Christ and his relationship to God the Father. This group included other clergy, as well as the Vandal regime. On at least one occasion, both Fulgentius and Felix were severely beaten by an Arian priest and his supporters.

Shortly before 500 Fulgentius embarked on a voyage to Egypt the homeland of monasticism However he actually went ...


Idris II  

A. K. Bennison

was the second and most successful ruler of the Idrisid dynasty, which ruled northern Morocco from 789 to 985. His full name was Idris ibn Idris ibn ʿAbd Allah al-Hasani.

Among his achievements was the construction of the city of Fez, a project initiated, but not fully realized, by his father, and the promotion of Arabo–Islamic culture among local Berber tribes. Today, Moulay Idris II is venerated as the “patron saint” of Fez, and his shrine stands close to the city’s great mosque, the Qarawiyyin. However, his saintly status dates to the fifteenth century, when the cult of holy men and women became common in Morocco, rather than to his own era. Regular use of “Moulay,” a title of respect meaning “my lord,” in reference to Idris II also probably dates to this era.

The sources for the life of Idris II are hagiographic We cannot be certain about the ...


Iyasus Moa  

Steven Kaplan

Ethiopian monastic leader commemorated as a saint by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church, was born 21 May 1214 in Begemder Province. Having refused to marry, Iyasus Moa left his home and traveled while already in his thirties to the ancient northern monastery of Debre Damo in Tigre Province. There, under the tutelage of the abbot Abba Yohanni, he completed a novitiate of seven years before becoming a monk. Leaving Tigre, he traveled south and eventually settled at Lake Hayq in Amhara Province. Although tradition claims that two earlier churches had existed on the island in the lake from late Aksumite (ninth–tenth century) times, its importance certainly dates from the middle of the thirteenth century and the arrival of Iyasus Moa (c. 1248).

According to several traditions it was while serving at Debre Hayq also known as Debre Nagwadgwad that Iyasus Moa made an alliance with the Amhara leader Yekunno Amlak ...


Manubiyya, ʿAʾisha al-  

Allen J. Fromherz

was a North African female saint from the Shadhili Sufi order. Her exact birth and death dates are difficult to decipher. The tomb of the saint, or Sayyida, ʿAʾisha al-Manubiyya in Manuba outside of Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia, has long been a focus of devotion, especially for Sufi women.

According to the scholar Scott Kugle, the most important source for the life of Sayyida ʿAʾisha is a hagiography written about her entitled The Heroic Virtue of the Righteous Woman Saint, the Spiritual Master, Sayyida ʿAʾisha al Manubiyya. The hagiography was not intended as an accurate depiction of her life, but rather as a guide for spiritual living aimed especially at female devotees. Kugle and other scholars have recently deciphered the text and have provided a useful summary of how she performed miraculous acts from a very early age.

The miracles began while ʿAʾisha was still in ...


Maurice, Saint  

Phillipe Wamba

According to Christian legend, Saint Maurice (Saint Maurice d'Agaune), the first Christian saint to be explicitly represented as an African, was a primicerius (a high-ranking officer) in the Roman army whose legion was massacred by the Romans in the late third century for refusing to participate in a pagan ritual.

Maurice and his legion, all baptized Christians, were recruited for military service in Thebaid, an Egyptian province on the upper Nile (near the present-day border between Egypt and Sudan). Thebaid, with its capital at Thebes, was the southernmost region of the Roman Empire, then ruled by co-emperors Diocletian and Maximian.

In 287 Maximian commander of the Roman army in Gaul led his troops which included Maurice s legion in a military campaign against insurgents in Gaul On the eve of battle the army camped at Octodurum in what is now Martigny Switzerland and Maximian ...



Jeremy Rich

pope, was born somewhere in North Africa, probably in the mid-third century CE. Little is known of his background. His name is also given as “Melchiades.” He must have belonged to the vibrant North African church community that would later include Augustine of Hippo. Miltiades endured the brutal persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian, but it is unclear how he survived them or if they had any personal consequences for him. He was described in the Liber Pontificalis chronicle of the early Roman church as a member of a certain Marcellinus s clergy Early church historian Eusebius of Caesarea contended that Miltiades reigned as pope for four years though some sources indicate three or so What is clear is that his short tenure as bishop of the Roman Christian community came at a dramatic time He was elected bishop around 310 just as Roman military leader Constantine was battling ...



James J. O'Donnell

Christian saint, mother of Augustine of Hippo, is the most famous African woman of at least her century. Born c. 331–332 CE, most likely in Tagaste (modern Souk Ahras, Algeria), she died at Ostia, the port of Rome (near modern Fiumicino airport) in 387 CE. Her name suggests her family had been native to the region and spoke and worshipped in the Punic tradition left by the Carthaginians, but her immediate family was Christian and belonged to the upper classes of provincial Roman society.

When Monnica was young however the traditional Christianity of her native city was becoming controversial Two factions vied for control of the African church one embodying local traditions going back 150 years and more the other representing the interests of classes more closely aligned with the new Christian aristocracy of empire in the wake of the emperor Constantine s astonishing conversion Tagaste was an old fashioned ...



Eric Fournier

was a Christian bishop and biographer of Augustine of Hippo. What we know about Possidius comes mainly from his own Life of Augustine. A few of Augustine’s own Letters (91, 101, 104, 137, 245, and 23*A) and the notice of Prosper’s Chronicle (Epitoma Chronicon for the year 437 CE provide additional details With such meager sources it is not surprising that we ignore the exact date and location of his birth although it is likely that he was born in the vicinity of Hippo Regius between 360 and 370 This supposition comes from the fact that Possidius is first securely attested in 391 as a companion of Augustine in the latter s newly established monastery of Hippo By Possidius own admission this was the beginning of a close friendship that lasted the better part of four decades There the brightest young promising Christian men of North Africa ...



T. G. Wilfong

Christian abbot and writer was born near present day Sohag in central Egypt and as a child entered the nearby White Monastery at Atripe headed by his maternal uncle Pjol Shenute advanced rapidly through the monastic hierarchy and ultimately became abbot at the death of Pjol around 385 Shenute expanded the monastery substantially at its height it is said to have housed twenty two hundred men and eighteen hundred women in separate but connected communities Shenute rigorously supervised the lives of the monks under his control inhabitants of the White Monastery lived under a strict monastic rule and carried out both physical labor and spiritual effort on behalf of the monastery The White Monastery became an important economic force in its area and Shenute an important spiritual leader who used his monastery s assets for local charitable purposes and to wield political influence Shenute presented himself as a fierce foe ...


Sidi Harazem  

Stephen Cory

Moroccan Maliki legal scholar, was born and lived in Fez, where he became a noted expert in the study of hadith and qurʾanic exegesis until he was exiled to Marrakesh toward the end of his life. He is also known as Abu al-Hasan ʿAli ibn Hirzihim. He is best remembered as a vocal critic of the Almoravid regime in Morocco and a proponent of the teachings of the noted scholar, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, whose works the Almoravids had banned. Ibn Hirzihim was also influential in the early scholarly career of Abu Madyan, who would become one of the most famous Sufi saints in North Africa during the late medieval period. Better known as Sidi Harazem, Ibn Hirzihim is the patron saint of a spring located near Fez and, as such, his name is used to market drinking water in Morocco to this day.

ʿAli Ibn Hirzihim was born into a ...



Carmen De Michele

soldier and Christian saint, presumably died on 11 January 304 in the city of Tigava in the Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis (present-day El Kherba in Algeria). The Roman Catholic Church venerates him as a military saint.

One of the very few sources reporting the life of Saint Typhasius is Bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiqua et mediae aetatis, which only mentions his name and the place and date of his death: Typasius veteranus m. Ticavis in Mauritania, sub Diocletiano. Ian. 11. His martyrdom does not appear in any liturgical calendar or extant martyrology.

The Roman Emperor Diocletian 284 305 ruled as part of the first Tetrarchy The division of power to four emperors had become a political and military necessity since the borders of the immense Roman Empire could not be controlled by a single ruler Dicoletian who himself had no son to share his power adopted his comrade in arms ...


Zemikael, Aregawi  

Vitagrazia Pisani

Ethiopian saint, is one of the most venerated saints of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. He was one of the so-called “Nine [Roman] Saints” (the others, according to the tradition, were Alef, Aftse, Gerima, Guba, Liqanos, Pentelewon, Tsehma, and Yemata), learned monks who migrated from the Byzantine empire to the Aksumite Kingdom (in today’s North Ethiopia) between the fifth and the sixth centuries CE, probably to escape the persecutions of the supporters of Monophysite doctrine following the Council of Chalcedon (451). The monks are credited with the so-called “second evangelization” of the country after the first one put into practice by Abba Selama Kesate Berhan during the fourth century, when Christianity became the official religion of Aksum, as well as the establishing of the first monasteries in the region.

Commemorated in the Senkessar the book of the saints of the Ethiopian Church on 14 Teqemt 24 October Zemikael Aregawi ...