Julian was the first known missionary to Nubia. Julian was a Monophysite priest from Constantinople who evangelized Nubia (542-544) with the support of the Empress Theodora and was accompanied by an Egyptian bishop named Theodore. The king of the Nobades, a Nubian group, was converted. Julian returned to Constantinople after two years, though Theodore remained until 551. There seems to have been a rival, or subsequent, Orthodox mission backed by Emperor Justinian that had more lasting effect. There were certainly Christians in Nubia before Julian, while the conversion of the Alwa and the south dates from after his time (c. 580). Nevertheless, though we know little about him, Julian remains as the principal apostle of Nubia.
U. Monneret de Villard, Storia della Nubia Christiana (1938); P. L. Shinnie, “Christian Nubia,” in Cambridge History of Africa, vol. 2, J. D. Fage, ed. (1978), pp. 556-588.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.