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Justin de Jacobis

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Saint Justin de Jacobis
Born 9 October, 1800, San Fele, Italy
Died 31 July, 1860, Hebo, Ethiopia
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Canonized 1975 by Pope Paul VI
Feast July 31

Saint Justin de Jacobis (9 October 1800 - 31 July 1860) was an Italian Lazarist missionary who became Vicar Apostolic of Abyssinia and titular Bishop of Nilopolis.


He was born at San Fele, Province of Potenza in southern Italy. On 17 October, 1818, he entered the Congregation of the Lazarists at Naples, took vows there on 18 October, 1820, and was ordained priest at Brindisi on 12 June, 1824. After spending some time in the care of souls at Oria and Monopoli, he became superior, first at Lecce, then at Naples.

In 1839 he was appointed first Prefect Apostolic of Ethiopia and entrusted with the foundation of Catholic missions in that country. After laboring with great success in Ethiopia for eight years, he was made titular Bishop of Nilopolis in 1847, and shortly afterwards Vicar Apostolic of Abyssinia, but he refused the episcopal dignity until it was finally forced upon him in 1849. Despite imprisonment, exile and every other kind of persecution from the local Ethiopian Church, he founded numerous Catholic missions, built schools in Agame and Akele Guzay, Eritrea[1] for the training of a native clergy, founding the beginnings of the Ethiopian Catholic Church.

He died at Hebo in the Aligide Valley,[1] while on his way to Halai (in modern Eritrea) where he hoped to regain his health.


The process of his beatification was introduced on 13 July, 1904. He was canonized in 1975 by Pope Paul VI.

Today his tomb is visited by both Christians and Muslims.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Killion, Tom (1998). Historical Dictionary of Eritrea. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810834375. 


This article incorporates text from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain.

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