Monday, July 14, 2014

Saints in Art: St. Elesbaan, one of the pillars of Ethiopia

"The story of St. Elesbaan goes back to the early period of Christianity’s long presence in Ethiopia.

"This remarkable black saint, whose story of victory and piety begins in ancient Abyssinia, now known as Ethiopia, found his ultimate fulfillment much later as a spiritual guide to his fellow black Africans. In this painting, the saint wears the habit of the Carmelite religious order and holds a miniature church. The inscription at the bottom of the painting attests to his Abyssinian origins and declares his special role as a protector against “the dangers of the sea.”  - Read the rest of the story here.

H/T to my Abyssinian research assistant.


  1. "The real story of the veneration of Elesbaan, however, occurs with the arrival of black Africans, mostly as slaves, first in Spain and Portugal in the 15th century, then in their New World colonies. To aid in the process of spiritual assimilation among the captives, religious confraternities of blacks, both free and enslaved, came to be established."

    This sounds like typical revisionist history. Was St. Elesbaan really just the Catholic Church's way of enslaving a black persons soul along with their body. Ok, I know you don't think that but I guess I'm just complaining about the author writing something so foolish.

    1. You are right - that is, unfortunately, the author's take on it. I just wanted to show the image and link to the site without having to write anything myself. Thanks for pointing it out for the reader though. It is important to note.

    2. The image is fantastic, the enemies of the Church do not like to learn of her true diversity.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.