St. Frumentius of Ethiopia



  1. Students should be able to name Frumentius and Ethiopia.
  2. Students should be able to tell the story of Frumentius.
  3. Students should know why the coins of Ethiopia changed from a crescent to a cross.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Tell the story of St. Frumentius:

Once there lived a boy in the land of Phoenicia named Frumentius. Now, Phoenicia is on the sea and the people of that land are good sailors. So, a rich man named Meropius decided that he would sail to India to learn of the wisdom of that land. Meropius took with him 2 boys, Frumentius and his friend Edesius. But, the ship ran out of food. They came to a town on the coast of Africa and landed the ship to buy food. But the people of this region hated the Romans. They killed Meropius and the sailors and took the two boys to the king as slaves. This is how Frumentius came to the African land of Ethiopia.

Now, there were already Jews and Christians in Ethiopia. Do you remember the story of the Queen of Sheba. She visited King Solomon and their son became king of Ethiopia. Many Jews settled there. And, do you remember the story of Philip and the eunuch of Ethiopia. He also returned home and taught people about Jesus. But, the king was not a Christian.

The king could see that the boys were smart and well-mannered. He decided to let them live as his servants. Edesius became his cup-bearer and Frumentius a keeper of scrolls. They served the king well. But, the king died young. The queen asked Edesius and Frumentius to help her young son learn to rule the land and they agreed to serve the people of Ethiopia. Frumentius was now free to travel around the country. He gathered the Christians together and told people about Jesus. Soon, there were more and more Christians in the land.

Frumentius traveled to Alexandria to meet with the young bishop, Athanasius. Doyou remember the story of Athanasius? He told Athanasius how much the people of Ethiopia needed a bishop to build churches and teach. Athanasius could see the love of the Lord and His people of Ethiopia in the eyes of Frumentius. Frumentius himself was ordained bishop and sent back to Ethiopia!

King Ezana, the young boy, had grown into a man. He also became a Christian because of Frumentius. We know this because of the coins of the land. Those from his early reign have pagan half moons on them; those from his later life have crosses.

Like his friend Athanasius, Frumentius did not follow the false teachings of Arius. Do you remember what those were? He continued to build churches and teach the true faith. When Athanasius was taken prisoner, the followers of Arius came also for Frumentius. But, the people of Ethiopia so loved their “Aboona”, or father, that they would not let him be taken prisoner. He is remembered in Ethiopia to this day as the “Revealer of Light”.


  1. Feed the Elephant True/False Questions:

True                                                     False

            Frumentius was born in Phoenicia.                 Frumentius was born in Ethiopia.

            Frumentius was taken as a slave.                    Frumentius was shipwrecked.

            Frumentius was the first bishop of Ethiopia.  Frumentius was bishop of Rome.


  1. Review the stories of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and Philip and the eunuch. There are pictures in their story Bibles. Isn’t it amazing that so many years later the Lord sent Frumentius to finish the work He’d begun in Ethiopia more than a thousand years before.


  1. Show some pictures of Africa. What do people look like? What kind of houses do they live in? What kind of clothes do they wear?  What kind of animals are there in Africa? All this must have been very strange to Frumentius. His friend, Edesius, became homesick and went back to Phoenicia when the young king grew up, but Frumentius’s love for the people of Africa was too great to leave them! Do you know anyone who dresses differently or talks a different language or is a different color? Can you love them as Frumentius did? Sing: “Jesus loves the little children…” and then, “Frumentius loved the little children…”


  1. Make the Changing Coin of Ethiopia: Take a gold paper plate or disk of gold wrapping paper. Cut a crescent moon (Think with the students for a moment about the phases of the moon.) out of white paper and a cross out of red or black. Glue one on each side of the gold “coin”. Punch a hole and hang by a piece of yarn. Hold it up and, as it turns from crescent moon (a god) to cross remind the students how, through the love of Frumentius, the people of Ethiopia went from worshipping idols to worshipping God.


  1. Close with prayer: Lord, give me the love of Frumentius for people who look or dress or talk differently from me.