Marqos II (D. C. 1588)

MARQOS II (d. c. 1588)

There is little information about this successor to Abuna Petros II in the Ethiopian documents, but the date of his arrival in the country is known. The chronicle of Sarsa Dengel reports that after the death of Abuna Yosab I, which occurred in the eighth year of Sarsa Dengel’s reign (1570), the negus succeeded in having the Coptic patriarch John XIV (1570-1585) send a new metropolitan named Marqos (II), who arrived during the fourteenth year of his reign (1576). The chronicler adds that this was a very happy year, for the negus had just conquered Muhammad, king of Adal, a date confirmed in Arabic sources, and that after seizing power in A.H. 980/A.D. 1572-1573, Muhammad ibn Nasir ibn ‘Uthman, sultan of Adal, undertook a military expedition against Sarsa Dengel in which he was conquered and killed near the end of 1575 or the beginning of 1576.

The date of Marqos’ arrival is also confirmed by an Ethiopian codex in the National Library, Paris, whose Explicit announces that the manuscript was completed during the seventh year of the episcopate of Abuna Marqos II and the twentieth year of Sarsa Dengel’s reign (1582). The arrival of this metropolitan in 1576 must thus be considered as certain.

Although Marqos II is likewise mentioned in a document from the Liber Axumae, there is no information extant concerning his episcopate, an omission probably due to the rather dishonorable termination of his episcopate. Around 1624, after Negus Susenyos decided to join the Roman church, he issued a manifesto in which he set forth not only his reasons for joining this church but also reproaches concerning the deplorable conduct of certain metropolitans.

In particular, Susenyos declared: “The Negus Malak- Sagad [i.e., Sarsa Dengel] has shown that Marqos [II] became guilty of sexual delights that neither the ears dare hear nor the mouth pronounce, delights of such a nature as to make God rain fire from heaven. Therefore, Malak-Sagad stripped this metropolitan of his episcopal dignity, deprived him of his holdings, and sent him to the island of Daqq in Lake Tana, where he died an evil death.”

There is no document indicating the date of this dismissal, which, however, must have occurred between 1582 (the date contained in the above-mentioned manuscript in the National Library, Paris) and 1588 (the approximate date when the position of metropolitan was filled by another Coptic prelate).

The successor of Marqos II was Krestodolu I.


  • Almeida, M. de. Historia de Ethiopia a alta ou Abassia, p. 390.
  • Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores Occidentales Inediti 5. Rome, 1907.
  • 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.
  • Páez, P. Historia Aethiopiae, p. 54. Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores Occidentales Inediti 3. Rome, 1906.
  • Rossini, C. Documenta ad Illustrandam Historiam, Vol. 1, Liber Axumae. In CSCO 58, p. 68. Louvain, 1954.
  • . Historia Regis Sarsa Dengel (Malak Sagad). In CSCO 21, p. 68. Louvain, 1955.
  • Zotenberg, H. Catalogue des manuscrits éthiopiens (gheez et amharique) de la Bibliothèque nationale, p. 106. Paris, 1877.

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