Fiqtor – Ethiopian Prelates

ETHIOPIAN PRELATES: FIQTOR (fl. second half eleventh century)

Fiqtor (Victor; Arabic, Buqtur) is the first metropolitan mentioned in the of the Patriarchs after Dan’el, who had been consecrated near the end of the tenth century, thus indicating a hiatus in the succession. According to the above-mentioned , Fiqtor was of the Ethiopian church just before his nephew Sawiros occupied the same position. Since the latter was consecrated by Patriarch CYRIL II (1078-1092), it may be deduced that Abuna Fiqtor was consecrated toward the middle of the eleventh century by Patriarch CHRISTODOULUS (1047-1077). At any rate, it is certain that Fiqtor’s metropolitanate occurred during the pontificate of Christodoulus.

Renaudot (1713, p. 47) doubted the existence of this particular Ethiopian and proposed that he was probably confused with a certain Buqtur who, at about this time, was a metropolitan bishop for the church in Nubia. However, there is no proof of such a supposed confusion. The Ethiopian Synaxarion (Budge, 1928, Vol. 4, p. 995) does mention that Fiqtor was the brother (not uncle) of his successor, but it is obvious that priority must be given to the Arabic text, for the Ethiopian text is based thereon.

During Fiqtor’s metropolitanate there was a Coptic monk in Ethiopia, by name of ‘Abdun, who himself assumed the title of and the name Quril (Cyril), and then plotted to have Fiqtor deposed so that he might usurp the episcopal throne. Using a certain ‘Ali al-Qifti as an intermediary, ‘Abdun began his intrigues before the all-powerful al-Juyush, Badr al-Jamali, who was vizier (1074-1094) of the caliph al-Mustansir. Claiming Fiqtor to be a ruthless enemy of the Ethiopian Muslims, ‘Ali al-Qifti suggested to Badr al-Jamali that Christodoulus should be forced to depose this and replace him with ‘Abdun. Ceding to the vizier’s heavy pressure, Christodoulus decided to send to Ethiopia a delegation led by a bishop and charged with consecrating Abdun in place of Fiqtor. However, before the delegation could depart, ‘Ali al-Qifti fell into disgrace and was executed after confessing his treachery. This, of course, ended all plans for the delegation. Although he failed in his first attempt to become a bishop, ‘Abdun merely postponed his plans, which he renewed during the episcopate of Sawiros, Fiqtor’s successor.

The of the Patriarchs gives no other information concerning Abuna Fiqtor, who seems to have died during the pontificate of Christodoulus.

  • Budge, E. A. W., trans. The Book of the Saints of the Ethiopian Church, Vol. 4, p. 995. Cambridge, 1928.
  • Renaudot, E. Historia Patriarcharum Alexandrinorum Jacobitarum, p. 47. Paris, 1713.
  • Rossini, C. d’Etiopia, p. 287. Bergamo, 1928.
  • Taddesse Tamrat. Church and State in Ethiopia 1270-1527, p. 47. Oxford, 1972.