Born around 455 A.D. in Constantania (Constantinople) our holy righteous father Abune Aregawi was chosen by God from a young age. His father Yeshak and his mother Edena were Christians with great wealth who unceasingly served God with humbleness administrating to the poor and needy. By the guidance of Yeshak and Edena our Holy Father Abune Aregawi studied the Holy Scriptures, both old and New Testament from a young age. As it was custom in those days his parents thought it was right he marries and engaged him to one of the official’s daughter of Constantinople.
Our Holy father Abune Aregawi remembering the scriptures of the Holy Gospel “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it (Matt. 10:37-39),” decided to flee from this world and entered a Monastery to serve God. Shortly after our Holy Father Abune Aregawi at the age of 14 received the Eskima (monk hood) from Abba Pachomius with the name ZeMichael.
Abune Aregawi continued to serve in the Monastery and due to his knowledge of the Holy scriptures and his wisdom at a young age the Holy fathers in the Monastery were astonished by his maturity and spiritual zeal and named him “Aregawi” which means elderly (you who are our father).
Not to long after, our father Abune Aregawi and eight other Holy fathers departed to the land of Agazian “Agazi” (modern day Eritrea and Ethiopia) to bring the Christian Good News of Salvation in Christ Jesus and to introduce Monastic institutions.
Arriving first in Eritrea the Nine saints later proceeded to Axum and after learning the Agazian language (Ge’ez) the saints departed different directions throughout the land of Agazian to teach the word of God.
After departing Axum our Holy Father Abune Aregawi was lead to a place which upon reaching found a high mountain which was impossible to climb. Guided by the Holy spirit Abune Aregawi knew this place was Holy but was perplexed on how he can get up the mountain and after many pondering he prayed earnestly and God sent him St. Michael who showed him a large serpent and holding onto the serpent he ascended up the mountain. After reaching the mountain top he praised the lord by saying “Halleluiah to the Father, Halleluiah to the Son and Halleluiah to the Holy Spirit” (praise be to the Father, praise be to the Son and praise be to the Holy Spirit) therefore the mountain was called Debre Halli-luya (Mount Halleluiah). Our Holy Father Abune Aregawi blessed the mountain and established a Monastery with a Church on top of the mountain built by the King Hatsay Gebre Meskel. The king contributed many alms and gifts to the Church on mount Halleluiah and built a permanent way up and down the Holy Mountain for people to visit. This was unacceptable and displeasing to Abune Aregawi therefore he ordered the king to “Dahmemo” (which means destroy in English) what he had built and St. Abune Aregawi prophesied that no stairs, ladders or path should be built to climb the mountain and that it should remain as so a miracle for future generations. Therefore the monastery was also named Debre Damo (Mount Damo) deriving from the Ge’ez word “Dahmemo” and until this day only a rope is used to climb the Holy Mountain symbolizing the serpent our holy father Abune Aregawi used to ascend and descend the mountain.
The feast of Abune Aregawi is on Tekimti 14th
(October 14th - Ge'ez calendar) for this reason Tewahdo Orthodox faithful all around the world commemorate our holy Father Abune Aragawi on this Holy day and on the fourteenth day of each month.
Abune Aregawi continued to preach and teach and establish Rules for the Monastic Life, which he had learned from Abba Pachomius.
And God made a covenant with him concerning those who should celebrate his commemoration, and those who shall call upon his name, write his strife and history that it shall be greatly counted and many blessings shall be bestowed upon them.
As mentioned in the Old Testament of the Prophet Henok (Enoch) Gen. 5: 4 and the Prophet Elias (Elijah) 2 Kings 2:811, it is said that God through his grace hid Abune Aregawi from the face of death.
"Selam Leke Zemikael Be-tsu Ante Gebar-ye Te'amer Se'al Be'enti-ane O Abo-ye Aregawi"
"Salutation to Ze' Mikael righteous art thou doer of miracles, O our Father Aregawi intercede on our behalf."
May the blessings and intercession of our Holy Father Abune Aregawi be with us all!
Prepared by: Deacon Helmon Tekie
Source: Dersane Abune Aregawi (Ge'ez excerpt from the Homily of St. Abune Aregawi)