St. Elesbaan, King of Ethiopia (+555)
Commemorated October 24
St. Elesbaan was King of Ethiopia and lived when Arabia was ruled by Dunaan, the oppressor of Christians. The pious Elesbaan was unable to look on indifferently as believers in Christ were being massacred. He declared war on Dunaan, but his military campaign was unsuccessful. Wanting to learn the reason for his defeat, Elesbaan, with prompting from above, turned to a certain hermit. He revealed to the emperor that he had proceeded unrighteously in deciding to take revenge against Dunaan, since the Lord had said, "Vengence is Mine, I will repay" (Hebrews 10:30).
The hermit counseled King Elesbaan to make a vow to devote his final days of life to God if he wished to escape punishment for his self-willed revenge. Only after making the vow was he then blessed to go off to battle once more and, this time, to defeat Dunaan. Elesbaan made the vow and, marching off with his army, he defeated, captured and executed that tyrant persecutor of Christians.
After the victory the Saint resigned as king, sent his royal crown to Jerusalem to be kept in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and secluded himself within a monastery, where for fifteen years he dwelt in strict fasting and asceticism. God endowed St. Elesbaan with the grace of miracle-working before and after his death.
He entered into rest in the year 555.