Estifanos of Gwendagwende – Reformer and Martyr

By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth:

Estifanos of Gwendagwende – Reformer and Martyr

Around the time when John Wyclif and Ian Hus shook the western church by challenging its authority and traditions, a lesser-known monk did something similar in Ethiopia. He was known as Abba Estifanos (in English, Father Stephen).

Estifanos’s Early Life

By the time Estifanos was born in 1380 in the village of Sebuha, northwestern Ethiopia, his father Berhane Meskel had already died in battle. Estifanos was named by his relatives Hadege Anbesa (“likeness of a lion”) and was raised by his uncle to follow in his father’s footsteps as a valiant soldier for their nation.

But Estifanos’s interest was only in learning more about God and how to please him. Against the wishes of his relatives, he joined a religious center called Beta Iyyasus (Church of Jesus), where he was consecrated as a deacon at age eighteen. From there, he moved to the Qoyetsa monastery, in the region of Tigray, where he adopted the name Abba Estifanos.


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