Gäbrä-Seyon

1200s
Orthodox Church
Ethiopia

Gäbrä-Seyon was an anchorite and the brother of Abba ‘Iyäsus-Mo’a and seems to have accompanied the saint to Däbrä Damo and to have remained in that vicinity when ‘Iyäsus-Mo’a left to go to Däbrä Hayq. In the Gädlä ‘Iyäsus-Mo’a, he is praised for his rigorous asceticism. He apparently lived in a cave and is said to have passed his time in constant vigil, fasting and prayer in a standing position, so that his feet became swollen. He lived however to a good age, dying on 25 Yäkatit. Long after his death, his followers built a church at the entry to his cave to serve pilgrims and to be used as a burial place for the monks themselves. Gäbrä-Seyon is said to have been gifted with powers of healing and all those who anointed themselves with earth from his dwelling place were cured of their afflictions.

There is in existence a fourteenth-century picture of three leaders of Däbrä Hayq which represents the figures of Abba ‘Iyäsus-Mo’a and of a certain Gäbrä Seyon who may well be the brother of the saint.

Belaynesh Michael


Bibliography

S. Kur (ed. and trans.), Actes de Iyasus Mo’a, Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, Scriptores aethiopici, t. 49 and t. 50.

Taddesse Tamrat, “The Abbots of Däbrä-Hayq 1248-1535,” Journal of Ethiopian Studies, Vol. VIII, No. 1 (1970): 94.


This article is reproduced, with permission, from The Dictionary of Ethiopian Biography, Vol. 1 ‘From Early Times to the End of the Zagwé Dynasty c. 1270 A.D.,’ copyright © 1975, edited by Belaynesh Michael, S. Chojnacki and Richard Pankhurst, Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All rights reserved.