Ethiopian martyr and theologian (known also as Gabra Micha'el); b. Mertoulé Mariam, Ethiopia, c. 1790;d. Cerecia Ghebaba, Ethiopia, Aug. 28, 1855. Of Portuguese-Ethiopian ancestry, Ghebremichael (servant of Michael) was a Monophysite monk renowned for his holiness and theological learning. During a mission in 1841 to the Coptic patriarch of Alexandria to seek the election of an Abyssian metropolitan, he became acquainted with the Italian Vincentian, Giustino de jacobis. Afterward he visited Rome and was received by Pope Gregory XVI. Impressed by Catholic Christology, he began to recast his own theology and soon became suspect of Arianism to the new metropolitan, Abuna Salama. In 1844 he was received into the Catholic Church by De Jacobis and assisted him in the establishment of a Catholic seminary at Gaula. Ghebremichael began translating the catechism and Catholic theological works into Ethiopic languages. In 1851 he was ordained secretly by De Jacobis and was afterward admitted to the vincentians. He was imprisoned by the usurper Theodor in 1855 at the urging of Salama. After months of harsh treatment he died in chains. He was beatified Oct. 31, 1926.
Feast: Sept. 1.
Bibliography: g. goyau, in The Golden Legend Overseas, ed. m. m. vaussard, tr. w. b. wells (London 1931). Acta Apostolicae Sedis 12 (1920) 123–127; 18 (1926) 407–411. j. l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheureux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des fêtes. ed. by the Benedictines of Paris (Paris 1935–56) 9. 35–39. d. attwater, The Golden Book of Eastern Saints (Milwaukee 1938) 136–147. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 3:465–466.
[t. p. joyce]