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. 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.
Taddesse Tamrat describes him as the king of Ethiopia closest to a priest, noting that he insisted on ruling Ethiopia according to Apostolic canons. 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. 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.
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.
- Quoted in E.A. Wallis Budge, A History of Ethiopia: Nubia and Abyssinia, 1928 (Oosterhout, the Netherlands: Anthropological Publications, 1970), p. 277
- 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
- Taddesse Tamrat, Church and State in Ethiopia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), p. 61 n.3.
- Munro-Hay, Ethiopia, the unknown land: a cultural and historical guide (London: I.B. Tauris, 2002), p. 225
- Francisco Alvarez, The Prester John of the Indies translated by C.F. Beckingham and G.W.B. Huntingford (Cambridge: Hakluyt Society, 1961), chapter 59.
- David W. Phillipson, Ancient Churches of Ethiopia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), pp. 75ff
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