GABR’EL (d. c. 1458)
Gabr’el (Gabriel) arrived in Ethiopia in 1431 of the Ethiopian calendar (A.D. 1438-1439) with another metropolitan, Abuna Mika’el III. They had both been consecrated together by the Coptic patriarch JOHN XI (1427-1452) and were the successors of Abuna Bartalomewos.
According to tradition, only one bishop could be appointed metropolitan of Ethiopia. Consequently, it is probable that Gabr’el and Mika’el III were supposed to exercise this duty in succession (i.e., one after the death of the other). In reality, they reigned jointly by dividing their territorial jurisdiction. By order of the negus, Gabr’el took charge of Shewa and Mika’el of Amhara.
For the most part, the information available is the same concerning these two metropolitans (see the biography of Mika’el III, above). It must be added that it was Abuna Gabr’el who conferred the priesthood upon the monk Abakerazun, disciple and successor to the monk Estifanos, head of the heretical and political Estifanosite movement that shook the Ethiopian church during the fifteenth century.
After the death of Abuna Mika’el III, Gabr’el was the sole metropolitan until his death around 1458. The church of Ethiopia then remained without an abun for approximately twenty-three years, until the arrival of Abuna Yeshaq II in that country.
- Caquot, A. “Les Actes d’Ezra de Gunda-Gunde.” Annales d’Ethiopie 4 (1961):95.
- Cerulli, E. Il libro etiopico dei miracoli di Maria, pp. 109-120. Rome, 1943.
- Getatchew Haile. “The Letter of Archbishops Mika’el and Gabrael Concerning the Observance of Saturday.” Journal of Semitic Studies 26, ser. 1 (1981):73-78.
- Guidi, I. “Le liste dei metropoliti d’Abissinia.” Bessarione 6, ser. 1 (1899):9.
- Rossini, C. “L’omilia di Yohannes, vescovo d’Aksum, in onore di Garima.” In Actes du XIe Congrès international des Orientalistes, p. 142. Paris, 1897.
- . Vitae Sanctorum Indigenarum: Acta S. Abakerazun. In CSCO 57, p. 14. Louvain, 1954.
- Taddesse, Tamrat. “Some Notes on the Fifteenth-Century Stephanite ‘Heresy’ in the Ethiopian Church.” Rassegna di studi etiopici 22 (1966):113-15.
- ___. Church and State in Ethiopia 1270-1527, pp. 228-30, 235-36. Oxford, 1972.