He was raised in a household that was wealthy and God fearing. Once their son Libanos reached the age of marriage, his parents married him to King Constantine’s daughter. However Abune Libanos refused, and was given an exception for that night, to stay with his father. As he was educated in the Scriptures, he began thinking of what he was going to do that night, when a holy angel descended from heaven and called him 3 times saying, “Libanos”. He responded saying, “Here I am my lord!”, and the angel took him from the side of his father and without him noticing the journey helped Abune Libanos reach Egypt the Monastery of Dawnas (Debre Zeyt) from Rome.
The Holy Spirit led him to Egypt where he met with a well known Monk named Father Pachomius, who established the rites of monkhood. After staying in the Egyptian monastery called Abune Libanos eventually received his monasticism.
Monasticism & Eritrea
Once Abune Libanos became a Monk, the Lord wanted him to travel and spread the word of God. Hence the Holy Spirit spoke to Father Pachomius and told him to send Abune Libanos to Eritrea and its surrounding countries like Ethiopia. Abune Libanos arrived in Eritrea after Aba Yohani, the Syrian, who came to our land in 451-464 G.C. Abune Libanos arrived in 463-260 G.C., and for 7 years, he lived in a secluded place known as Aseged Bakla where he continued to humbly serve the Lord. After that he stayed in a cave for 70 years in a place called Kisad Dairo. Abune Libanos received the second name derived from Arabic roots - Meta’i- so their full name became Abune Libanos MeTa’i. This is the place in Eritrea where Abune Libanos’ monastery is located, having been over 1500 years since its inception. Abune Libanos was also the first to translate the Gospel of Matthew from Greek to Ge’ez.
All saints receive a special gift/blessing from God and Abune Libanos’ gift from God was that wherever he walked and dug his cane on the ground, water would spring forth. One location his gift can still be seen in is Debre Werda Guhucha Nikon where he stayed for 70 years serving God, in isolation from the world. Up until this day the waters from Debre Werda Guhucha Nikon continue to pour and heal many ill and disabled individuals including non Christians were healed from the blessed waters.
After seven years of living in isolation Abune Libanos was invited to go to Aksum Tsiyon in Ethiopia, by Aba Elias (Elijah). Once Abune Libanos arrived they noticed that the Deacons and Fathers in Aksum Tsiyon were conducting illegal practices. This upset Abune Libanos and he decided to confront them about their wrong doings.
Rain & Repentance
This created a dispute among them and they told him to leave Aksum Tsiyon. Abune Libanos was deeply upset and he cursed the place before leaving. Afterwards Abune Libanos stayed in an isolated place known as Derka for 3 years where they ate from the trees and continued to receive God’s blessings for their honest service. The people of Aksum began to realise their fault, and hence decided to apologize for their sins. However they could not find Abune Libanos and began to fast and pray for 7 days. During this time Abune Libanos found them praying, and demanded that they stop their wrongdoing, if they wished to make peace with him. They agreed to do as he said and that same day it began to rain in Aksum Tsiyon.
Abune Libanos' Departure
Near the time of their departure Abune Libanos told one of their students Dirar (Gebre Kristos) that he was the one that was going to bury them and that the place of their burial was going to be told to Dirar by the Holy Spirit. Shortly afterwards Abune Libanos departed in Midri Harasat in Aksum. The Holy Spirit led Gebre Kristos (Dirar) to the place where Abune Libanos had passed and he carried their body to Debre Werqi Monastery in Eritrea where they were buried.
One monastery to have been built by Abune Libanos in 523 A.D is Gedam Debre Werqi. It is located in the hills of Senafe in southern Eritrea. Abune Libanos founded this monastery, and for years they resided on their own and served God in isolation, away from many materialistic necessities. After all his miraculous work in Eritrea and the surrounding locations, he was buried in this very monastery by his favourite spiritual son and student Gebre Kristos. Other monasteries built by Abune Libanos include: Inda Aba Meta’i and Debre Mariam Ham. Also there are several monasteries in Ethiopia that were built in honor of Abune Libanos.