Krestodolu I (Fl. Late Sixteenth Century)

KRESTODOLU I (fl. late sixteenth century)

There is little historical information available about the successor to Abuna Marqos II, probably because of the brevity of his episcopate as well as accusations of deplorable conduct made against him. Krestodolu I is not mentioned in the Chronicle of the rulers of Ethiopia nor in the chronicle of Sarsa Dengel. However, he is cited by the Axumae in the texts of two acts of concession of fiefs donated by this negus. In the first act, Krestodolu’s name is mentioned with that of the negus’ mother, Queen Sellus Khayla, widow of Negus Minas, who upon her marriage had taken the name of Admas Mogasa. This furnishes an important landmark, for, according to the Chronicle, this queen died on 21 Hamle 1586 of the Ethiopian calendar (A.D. 25 July 1594). In the second feudal act, Krestodolu’s name is cited with that of Tomas, nebura ed (chief) of Axum, who is known to have held this post around 1588.

There is absolutely no information about his episcopate in Ethiopia, if one excludes the accusations against him made by Negus Susenyos (Seltan Sagad) in the manifesto that he issued around 1624 to announce his reasons for joining the Catholic church. Among the reproaches directed against certain metropolitans, Susenyos wrote as follows: “As for Abuna Krestodolu I, the successor of Marqos II, contrary to the customs of a metropolitan, he kept several concubines, a fact that was well known by all those living at the time, of whom some are still alive.” It is not known, however, if this accusation caused Krestodolu’s dismissal or whether his episcopate came to an end with his natural death.


  • Almeida, M. de. Historia de Ethiopia a alta ou Abassia, p. 399.
  • Rerum Aethiopicarum Occidentales Inediti 6. Rome, 1907.
  • Beguinot, F. La cronaca abbreviata d’Abissinia, pp. 38-39. Rome, 1901.
  • Guidi, I. “Le liste dei metropoliti d’Abissinia.” Bessarione 6, ser. 1 (1899):11, n. 1.
  • Ludolf, I. Ad suam Historiam Aethiopicam antehac editam Commentarius, p. 510. Frankfurt am Main, 1691.
  • Rossini, C. Documenta ad Illustrandam Historiam, Vol. 1, Axumae. In CSCO 58, pp. 55-56. Louvain, 1954.