Collection: St. Samuel of Waldebba

ARTIST: Br. Robert Lentz, OFM


St. Samuel is a popular saint of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. As a young man he became a monk at Debre Bankol, where the abbot, Medhani Egzio, watched over his spiritual formation. After a number of years, he left the monastery and went into the desert.

He led a harsh life in the desert, eating little and praying long hours. Lions came to his care like sheep. He dressed their wounds and plucked thorns from their paws. When he found lost cubs, he brought them back to their mothers. He is depicted in icons riding a lion that carried him whenever he traveled. A second tame lion is said to have followed, carrying his books.

His fame attracted many followers. He is said to have died at the age of 100.

His feast day is December 21.

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Waldebba monastery is one of the oldest and famous Ethiopian monasteries where the monks abstain entirely from eating food for ascetic life except “Rolled Quarf" which is made up of immature banana mixed with the root of a certain tree. According to the tradition of the monastery, Waldebba monastery is believed to have been established around five centuries earlier. Later on Abba Samuel of Waldebba expanded and formed a monastic order and drew up a set of rules in the 14th century.

May the intersession of Abba Samuel be with us and glory be to God!