David III, who took as his throne name \Adbar Sagad, was the son of Iyasu I. He was proclaimed king on the 5th day of Yakatit, A.M. 7208 = A.D. 1716, and reigned five years; he was poisoned on the 13th day of Genbot, A.M. 7213 = A.D. 1721. David III was 21 years of age when he became king, and he at once deposed a number of high officials and appointed his uncle ’Agne and other friends to their places. Early in April 1716 the archmandrite of Dabra Llbanos demanded that a synod be held to consider a vital complaint which he had to make concerning the safety of the Church of Abyssinia. David summoned the Council, for the popular clamour for it was great, and then the monks and anchorites and every class of ignorant and fanatical ascetics swarmed into the town to take part in it. The ’Etchege Mazmure of Dabra Llbanos com plained that there were living at that time in Walkalt three Roman priests, with one Gregorius an Abyssinian, their interpreter, who had been brought there and maintained by the late king Yostos, who had often been present when they said mass. David himself was a member of the Church of Alexandria, and a believer in the doctrines of Eustathius, and though in no wise bound to justify or condemn his predecessor’s acts, he ordered the Roman priests and Gregorius to be brought from ’Ayna ’Egzl’e to ’Ashawa before the Council. Abba Mazmure asked them if they accepted the Council of Chalcedon as a rule of faith, and if it was conducted lawfully by Pope Leo ? They replied that their belief was that of Leo and of the Council of Chalcedon. Thereupon a roar went up from the whole assembly, “ Stone them to death. Cursed be the man who doth not cast these stones, for he is an enemy of Mary the Virgin.” The chief judge of the Council, one Kefle, pronounced
the sentence of death on them, and they were taken to the lower part of the town and stoned to death. The names of the three Capuchins were Liberato de Wies, of Austria, Michael Pie (Pius) de Zerba, of Padua, and Samuel de Beano. With them was stoned a child of six years of age called Michael, who was the fourth son, according to the testimony of Elias Enoch, of Michael Pie, who had broken his vows and taken to himself an Abyssinian wife, or wives. These facts are derived from the broad-sheet which the Capuchin Theodore Volpi published in Rome in 1774; they were accepted by Bruce ( Travels, III. p. 189) and other authorities. The Council wished to kill the interpreter Gregorius, but as he pleaded that he was not of the Faith of the Franks, and that all he did was to obey the orders of Yostos, David would not have him harmed and sent him to his native country.