chapter  1
The history of Christianity in Arabia
Pages 16

The Chronicle of John of Nikiu credits a woman named Theognosta with the conversion of the Yemenis in the mid-fourth century.7 In what seems to be a separate event, Theognosta is subsequently also credited with the conversion of the king of India. The Indian king then requests a bishop and one Afrudit (Frumentius) is sent to him. The history of Nicephorus tells us of the travels of Frumentius of Tyre, whom Athanasius consecrated as bishop in c.330 CE, and sent to H. imyar, however this destination is almost certainly not correct. According to Athanasius himself, the bishop Frumentius was received from and returned to Ethiopia (Axum).8 Though it has now been shown confidently that he was sent to Ethiopia, two observations can be made that are of interest here. The controversy over the location of this story in early sources highlights the close relationship between South Arabia and Ethiopia in pre-Christian times9; and, Frumentius may now be called the founder of the Abyssinian Monophysite movement which would later have a strong influence in South Arabia.10