Yemrehana Krestos

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Yemrehana Krestos
Emperor of Ethiopia
Reign11th century
PredecessorGerma Seyum
SuccessorKedus Harbe
DynastyZagwe dynasty

Yemrehana Krestos (also called Abraham by Francisco Álvares) was Emperor of Ethiopia, and a member of the Zagwe dynasty.


According to Taddesse Tamrat, he was the son of Germa Seyum, the brother of Tatadim; however the Italian scholar Carlo Conti Rossini published in 1902 a document that stated Yemrehana Krestos was the successor of Na'akueto La'ab, and succeeded by Yetbarak.[1] According to a manuscript Pedro Páez and Manuel de Almeida saw at Axum (where he is called "Imrah"), he ruled for 40 years a suspiciously round number.[2]

Taddesse Tamrat describes him as the king of Ethiopia closest to a priest, noting that he insisted on ruling Ethiopia according to Apostolic canons.[3] Stuart Munro-Hay speculates that "Abu Salih's description of the kings of Abyssinia as priests might have been based on information about this ruler that had reached Egypt.[4] Francisco Alvarez also recorded the tradition that it was Yemrehana Krestos who began the tradition of confining rival heirs to the Imperial throne at Amba Geshen.[5]

Yemrehana Krestos is credited with the construction of a stone church built in the Aksumite style, which bears his name. Located 12 miles northeast from Lalibela, the Yemrehana Krestos Church was built in a large northeast-facing cave on the western side of Mount Abuna Yosef. Until the construction of a road in 2000, according to David Phillipson, this church was reachable only after "a long day's arduous journey on foot or mule.[6]


  1. ^ Quoted in E.A. Wallis Budge, A History of Ethiopia: Nubia and Abyssinia, 1928 (Oosterhout, the Netherlands: Anthropological Publications, 1970), p. 277
  2. ^ G.W.B. Huntingford, "'The Wealth of Kings' and the End of the Zāguē Dynasty", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 28 (1965), p. 8
  3. ^ Taddesse Tamrat, Church and State in Ethiopia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), p. 61 n.3.
  4. ^ Munro-Hay, Ethiopia, the unknown land: a cultural and historical guide (London: I.B. Tauris, 2002), p. 225
  5. ^ Francisco Alvarez, The Prester John of the Indies translated by C.F. Beckingham and G.W.B. Huntingford (Cambridge: Hakluyt Society, 1961), chapter 59.
  6. ^ David W. Phillipson, Ancient Churches of Ethiopia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), pp. 75ff
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor of Ethiopia Succeeded by