Abune Aregawi was born around 455 A.D. in Constantinople & was chosen by God from a young age. His father Isaac & his mother Edena were Christians who were really rich, & they unceasingly served God with humbleness & helped the poor & needy. By the guidance of Isaac & Edna, our Holy Father Abune Aregawi studied the Holy Scriptures, both the Old & New Testament from a young age. As it was custom in those days his parents thought it was right that he would be married to the official’s daughter of Constantinople.
Our Holy father Abune Aregawi remembered the words of the Bible that said “He that doesn’t carry his cross, & follows after me, is not worthy of me. He that finds his life shall lose it: & he that loses his life for my sake shall find it. (Matt. 10:37-39)” So he decided to flee from this world & entered a Monastery to serve God. Shortly after, our Holy Father Abune Aregawi at the age of 14 received the Monkhood from Fr. Pachomius with the name ZeMichael.
Abune Aregawi continued to serve in the Monastery & with his knowledge of the Holy scriptures & his wisdom at a young age the Holy fathers in the Monastery were astonished by his maturity & spiritual zeal & named him “Aregawi” which means elderly (you who are our father). Not too long after, our father Abune Aregawi & eight other Holy fathers departed to the l& of Agazian “Agazi” (referring to modern day Eritrea & N. Ethiopia) to bring the Christian Good News of Salvation in Christ Jesus & to introduce Monastic institutions.
Now in the year 480 A.D. in the Ge’ez Calendar during the reign of ኣልኣሜዳ ወዲ ሰልዓዶባ, Alamieda the son of SelAdoba, the 9 Roman saints including Abune Aregawi (ZeMikaiel) left their country & came to Eritrea for their love of the Virgin St. Mary. Arriving in Eritrea, the Nine saints learned the Ge’ez language, & the saints went in different directions to teach the word of God. When they arrived at the city AgaAro near Debre Sina, they saw a luminescing light like that seen on Mount Sinai by Moses, & seeing this, they named it Debre Sina.
Seeing this radiance from afar, they went back & forth twice, & having not reached the light, they went a third time. On this third journey from Agaro to Debre Sina they placed large rocks on their way there with the other 8 saints, & reached the brilliant monastery full of light, & for the first time the luminescent planted tree was revealed to Abune Aregawi. Seeing this radiance, they rejoiced exceedingly & praised God. The signs they left are still there to this day.
Although this levitating welensa (rock) was floating by God’s will, because of problems of flooding in the Church, it was encircled with a building around it in the year 1951. To this day it has been a cell to many monastic fathers.
When Abune Aregawī arrived in Axum, Ethiopia, Abune Aregawi was led to a place & found a high mountain which was impossible to climb. Abune Aregawi was guided by the Holy Spirit to this place & knew it was Holy but was perplexed on how he could climb up the mountain. After much pondering he prayed earnestly & God sent him St. Michael, who showed him a large serpent & while holding onto the serpent he ascended up the mountain. After reaching the mountain top he praised God by saying “Hallelujah to the Father, Hallelujah to the Son & Hallelujah to the Holy Spirit” meaning praise be to the Father, praise be to the Son & praise be to the Holy Spirit) therefore the mountain was called Debre Halie luya (Mt. Hallelujah).
Our Holy Father Abune Aregawi blessed the mountain & established a Monastery with a Church on top of the mountain built by the King Hatsay Gebre Meskel. The king contributed many alms & gifts to the Church on Mount Hallelujah & built a permanent way up & down the Holy Mountain for people to visit. This was unacceptable & displeasing to Abune Aregawi therefore he ordered the king to “Dahmemo,” which means destroy what he had built. Abune Aregawi prophesied that no stairs, ladders or path should be built to climb the mountain & that it should remain like that, as a miracle for future generations. Therefore the monastery was also named Debre Damo (Mount Damo) deriving from the Ge’ez word “Dahmemo” & until this day only a rope is used to climb the Holy Mountain symbolizing the serpent our holy father Abune Aregawi used to ascend & descend the mountain.
The feast of Abune Aregawi is on the 14th of Tiqimti, October 14th in the Ge'ez calendar, for this reason Tewahdo faithful all around the world commemorate our holy Father Abune Aragawi, annually on this Holy day & on the 14th day of each month. Abune Aregawi continued to preach & teach & establish Rules for the Monastic Life, which he had learned from Abba Pachomius. He established them among his children. & God made a covenant with him concerning those who should celebrate his commemoration, & those who shall call upon his name, write his strife & history that it shall be greatly counted & many blessings shall be bestowed upon them.
As mentioned in the Old Testament of the Prophet Henok (Enoch) Gen. 5: 4 & the Prophet Elias (Elijah) 2 Kings 2:811, it is said that God through his grace hid Abune Aregawi from the face of death.
This holy man became a guide to the servants of God on the road. & he went up to the holy Debra Damo holding the tail of a serpent, & there he fought countless noble fights. & God graciously made a covenant (promise) with him saying that “Whoever calls upon his name, whoever should celebrate his commemoration” & then he was hidden from the face of death by the grace of God.
"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: Dirsane Abune Aregawi (Ge'ez excerpt from the Homily of St. Abune Aregawi)