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Moses the Black

About Saint Moses the Black

Saint Moses the Black, also known as Abba Moses, stands as a powerful testament to the transformative power of repentance and redemption. From a life of crime to becoming a revered desert monk, his journey is one of profound change, embodying the very essence of Christian transformation.

Feast Day

August 28

Birth Place





Moses the Black

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Early Life and Education


Early Life and Education

Born in the 4th century in Ethiopia, Moses was initially a slave to a government official. However, after being dismissed for theft and suspected murder, he became a notorious gang leader, feared by many for his strength, size, and criminal activities.


Ecclesiastical Career

Moses's life took a dramatic turn when, while seeking refuge from local authorities, he stumbled upon a colony of desert monks in the Wadi El Natrun, in Egypt. Their peace, contentment, and faith deeply impressed him. Struck by their unwavering faith and the depth of his own sins, he underwent a profound spiritual transformation.

He was baptized and embraced monastic life under the guidance of Saint Isidore the Priest. Moses's dedication to his newfound faith was profound. He took to the ascetic life with zeal, often combining prayer with manual labor and exhibiting a deep sense of humility and repentance for his past transgressions.

Ecclesiastical Career

Later Life and Canonization


Later Life and Canonization

As the years passed, Moses's wisdom, humility, and spiritual insights were recognized by his peers. He was ordained a priest and later founded a monastic community, guiding over 75 monks.

However, his journey was not without trials. Moses was often haunted by memories of his past and would seek counsel from the wise Abba Isidore whenever he was in turmoil.

In the year 405 AD, Moses and seven other monks were martyred at the hands of bandits during an attack on the monastery. Recognizing the threat, he urged the monks to flee, choosing to stay back with the few who remained, meeting the invaders with open arms and prayer rather than resistance.



Saint Moses the Black's life story remains an enduring lesson on redemption and the boundless mercy of God. His journey from a feared bandit to a beloved monk exemplifies the potential for change and serves as a beacon of hope for all seeking transformation.

For those eager to understand more about the life, teachings, and spiritual insights of orthodox saints, delve into our collection of books here. We also extend an invitation to explore other monumental figures in the vast and rich tradition of Orthodox Christianity.



Where are the relics of Saint Moses the Black

The relics of Saint Moses the Black, also known as Abba Moses the Robber due to his early life as a bandit before his conversion to Christianity, are believed to be located in the Monastery of St. Moses the Abyssinian (also known as the Monastery of St. Moses the Ethiopian) in the Syrian desert near the town of Nabk, approximately 80 kilometers north of Damascus. This ancient monastery was established in honor of Saint Moses and has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. Over time and due to various historical circumstances, it is possible that some relics or portions may have been relocated or distributed to other churches or monasteries, but the primary veneration site remains the aforementioned monastery in Syria.

Other Saints from this region

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Works written by Saint Nektarios

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History of Orthodoxy in Ethiopia

Eastern Orthodoxy in Ethiopia: Unveiling the Ancient Faith and Spiritual Splendor of the Land of Origins

Embark on an extraordinary journey into the vibrant world of Eastern Orthodoxy in Ethiopia, a country with a rich spiritual heritage and a deep-rooted connection to Orthodox Christianity. Ethiopia stands as a testament to the endurance and profound influence of the faith in the African continent.
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