Giustino de Jacobis

Giustino de Jacobis (9 October 1800 – 31 July 1860) was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop and professed member of the Congregation of the Mission who became a Vicar Apostolic in Ethiopia and Eritrea and the Titular Bishop of Nilopolis. He is also known as Justin de Jacobis and Saint Giustino de Jacobis.

Saint Bishop

Giustino de Jacobis

Apostolic Vicar of Abyssinia
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed6 July 1847
Term ended31 July 1860
PredecessorNone; position established
SuccessorLorenzo Biancheri
Other postsTitular Bishop of Nilopolis (1847-1860)
Ordination12 June 1824
Consecration7 January 1849
by Guglielmo Massaia
Personal details
Birth nameGiustino Sebastiano Pasquale de Jacobis
Born(1800-10-09)9 October 1800
San Fele, Potenza, Kingdom of Naples
Died31 July 1860(1860-07-31) (aged 59)
Zula, Semenawi Keih Bahri, Eritrea
Previous postPrefect Apostolic of Abyssinia (1839-1847)
Feast day31 July
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified25 June 1939
Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
by Pope Pius XII
Canonized26 October 1975
Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City
by Pope Paul VI
AttributesBishop's attire


Giustino de Jacobis was born on 9 October 1800 at San Fele in the Province of Potenza.

On 17 October 1818 he entered the Congregation of the Mission at Naples and made his religious vows there on 18 October 1820. He was ordained to the priesthood 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 and then at Naples.

In 1839 he was appointed as the first Prefect Apostolic of Ethiopia and entrusted with the foundation of Catholic missions there. After laboring with great success in Ethiopia for almost a decade he was appointed as the Titular Bishop of Nilopolis in 1847 and not long afterwards the Vicar Apostolic. However he refused the episcopal honor until it was forced upon him in 1849, when he received his episcopal consecration. Despite imprisonment and exile combined with other kinds of persecution from the local Ethiopian Church he founded numerous Catholic missions. Jacobis also built schools in Agame and Akele Guzay[1] for the training of a native priesthood and in the process founding the beginnings of the Ethiopian Catholic Church and the Eritrean Catholic Church.

He died in 1860 at Hebo of what is now the Southern Administrative Region of Eritrea, while en route to Halai, where he hoped to regain his health.[1]

Gabra Mika'el

Jacobis befriended an Orthodox monk named Gabra Mika'el. After some time Jacobis converted his friend to Catholicism and eventually ordained him to the priesthood. Together they co-wrote a catechism and established a seminary. Gabra was imprisoned at the same time as Jacobis, but he did not survive the maltreatment by his jailers. For his martyrdom, Gabra was beatified in 1926. The pair's friendship is recognized in a preamble to Catholic prayer: "Eternal Father, through the intercession of Saint Justin de Jacobis, grant me friends who will accompany me in joy and in suffering."[2]


The canonization process commenced in Ethiopia in 1891 in an informative process that finished in 1894. Theologians approved his writings in 1902 as being in line with the magisterium of the faith. The apostolic process then opened not long after in 1904 and concluded less than a decade later in 1913. The two processes received formal validation in Rome on 9 December 1915.

The formal commencement of the cause - in the pontificate of Pope Pius X - came on 13 July 1904 after having received the approval of the Congregation of Rites.

Jacobis was declared to be Venerable on 28 July 1935 after Pope Pius XI acknowledged the late bishop's life of heroic virtue. Pope Pius XII beatified him on 25 June 1939 while Pope Paul VI canonized him as a saint on 26 October 1975.[3][4]


  1. Killion, Tom (1998). Historical Dictionary of Eritrea. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3437-5.
  2. "Saint Who? Saint Justin de Jacobis". Magnificat. Magnificat USA. 20 (9): 343. November 2018.
  3. "Bishop St. Giustino Sebastiano Pasquale de Jacobis [Catholic-Hierarchy]".
  4. [Solenne rito di canonizzazione del vescovo Giustino de Jocobis], article in Italian


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Missing or empty |title= (help)

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