Minas – Ethiopian Prelates

ETHIOPIAN PRELATES: MINAS (fl. sixth century)

Ethiopian sources list Bishop Minas (Menas) as the successor of the first Ethiopian metropolitan bishop, Salama or Frumentius, and call him Salama II. He flourished, according to tradition, during the reign of Anbasa Wedem, before the of Egypt. However, in the chronologies of Axumite kings, no less than twenty-five kings are listed between the king who ruled during Frumentius’ metropolitanate and the reign of Anbasa Wedem (his dates are uncertain). This may indicate that the chair of the metropolitanate was vacant for a long time after Frumentius or his immediate successors. Minas’s designation as “the second Salama” could simply mean a fresh start of vigorous Christian activities in Ethiopia with Bishop Minas as its leader. The literary heritage he left seems to support this explanation.

Although the information on Minas is sketchy, he did enrich the literary tradition of the Ethiopian church with a number of homilies. At least six of these are extant and are read in Ethiopian monasteries at designated times in the year. They include the homilies on the apostles, dormition of Mary, the holy cross, the season of spring, the seventy disciples and the 318 fathers of the Council of Nicaea, and Yohannai. The translation of the into Ethiopic or Ge‘ez is also ascribed to Minas. It is also possible that the translation into Ge‘ez of Rufinus’ work on Frumentius, “The Story of How the of Ethiopia Came to Christianity,” is this bishop’s achievement.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Cowley, R. W. The Traditional Interpretation of the Apocalypse of St. John in the Ethiopian Church. Cambridge, 1983. Getatchew Haile. “The Homily in Honour of St. Frumentius, Bishop of Axum (EMML 1763, ff. 84v-86r).” Analecta Bollandiana 97 (1979):309-318.
  • Getatchew Haile and F. Macomber. A of Ethiopian Microfilmed for the Ethiopian Manuscript Microfilm Library, Addis Ababa, and for the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, Collegeville, Vol. 5. Collegeville, Minn., 1981.
  • Guidi, I. “ liste dei metropoliti d”Abissinia.” Bessarione 6 (1899):2-16.

GETATCHEW HAILE