« Ebionism and Ebionites Edesius Elagabalus, emperor »

Edesius

Edesius (3) shared the romantic fortunes of his brother Frumentius, the first bp. of Auxumis (Axum), in the 4th cent. The biographical details at our disposal consist of a lengthy narrative, introduced, on the authority of Edesius, by Rufinus into his Ecclesiastical History (lib. i. 9). This narrative has been copied, with slight deviations, by Socrates (H. E. i. 19), Sozomen (ii. 24), and Theodoret (i. 23, 24). Cf. also Baronius (Ann. 327, viii. ix. x.). Frumentius and Edesius, the young relatives of Meropius, a Syrian philosopher (merchant), accompanied him on a voyage of adventure to India. On their return to Phoenicia by way of the Red Sea, they landed "at a certain port," where there was "a safe haven," and there suffered from the barbarous assault of the "Indians," who murdered all the ship's company except the two youths, who were conveyed as prizes to the king. He appointed Frumentius and Edesius as his treasurer and cup-bearer respectively. By their means Christianity was introduced among "the Indians." Their names in Ethiopian documents given by Ludolf (Hist. Eth. iii. 2) are Fremonatos and Sydvacus (cf. Gesenius, Aethiop. Kirche in Ersch and Gruber, and Hoffmann in Herzog's Encyc.). The word "India" is used with the same indefiniteness as are Ethiopia and Libya elsewhere. From the times of Aristotle to those of Eratosthenes and of Hipparchus, India and Africa were believed to unite at some unknown point S. of the Indian Ocean (Dict. Anc. Geogr. vol. ii. p. 45, art. "India"; Pliny, vi. 22-24). These "Indians" were Abyssinians, as we see from the subsequent career of Frumentius. The king, according to Ludolf's Ethiopian Codex, was called Abreha, and on drawing near his end, offered their liberty to the two youths. The queen-mother earnestly besought them to remain, to undertake the education of the young prince Erazanes, and to assist her in the regency during his minority. They consented, and lost no opportunity of diffusing a knowledge of Christ. They sought out Christian merchants trading in the country, gathered Christian disciples, and built houses of prayer, "that worship might be offered, and the Roman ecclesiastical routine observed" (Soz. l.c.). They were not in orders, and Frumentius went to Alexandria and asked for a bishop to be sent to Abyssinia. Athanasius consecrated Frumentius himself. Edesius remained at Tyre and became a presbyter of the church there, where Rufinus met him.

[H.R.R.]

« Ebionism and Ebionites Edesius Elagabalus, emperor »





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