Röstin, Simon (Rev)

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Life and ministry

Simon Röstin was born in 1898.
He passed away in October 1982.

Excerpts from Hjort (2022), Joint Endeavour:

p. 123: Simon Röstin studied Latin and Greek at Lund University and arrived in Addis Ababa at the end of 1923.

p. 156: In the early years of his ministry, Röstin taught at the boys’ school and preached at the mission’s chapel

p. 159: Since autumn 1927, Röstin spent much time on translating devotions and songs from Swedish into Amharic. He participated also in a linguistic revision of the Amharic Bible.

p. 208: Furlough in 1931/32; Simon Röstin ordained as a pastor of the Church of Sweden for ministry in Ethiopia

p. 217: Röstin’s high expectations for the quality of his translation compelled him to revise numerous of the songs he had translated for inclusion in the hymnal Səbhat läʼamlak.

p. 218: The new edition of Səbhat läʼamlak was released in early 1935 (in Asmara). Of its 210 hymns, 120 were translated by Simon Röstin and 5 by his wife, Anna-Lena Röstin [née Jönsson, 1890–1972]. The hymnbook also included several songs by SEM missionary Olle Eriksson.

p. 208: Rev. Simon & Anna-Lena Röstin served in Ethiopia until Summer 1936.

Excerpts from Hjort (2022), Joint Endeavour:

p. 93: Anna-Lena Jönsson [later: Röstin], an elementary school teacher, arrived in Eritrea in December 1913

Figure 4.2: Picture taken in 1914

p. 109: Anna-Lena left for Sweden in 1916.

p. 122: She arrived in Addis Ababa in February 1923.

Information from Rev Sven Röstin (grandson of Rev Simon Röstin):

  • After returning from Ethiopia, Simon Röstin completed his theological studies and was ordained a minister and worked as a parish minister in the Swedish Lutheran church from 1941 through 1967.
  • Anna-Lena Röstin was a school teacher and worked on and off as such in the 1940s. They both treasured their time in Ethiopia as the peak of their work in the kingdom of God. []

Anna-Lena Röstin died in 1972.

Songs in hymn books

Səbhat läʼamlak (1935)

  • 120 songs (out of 210 hymns) were translated by Simon Röstin
    5 songs were translated by Anna-Lena Röstin

Səbhat läʼamlak (1950)

  • 105 songs (out of 289) were translated by Simon Röstin [Launhardt (2004), Evangelicals, p. 44]


Rev Simon Röstin
[all photographs courtesy Rev Sven Röstin]
Anna-Lena Röstin (née Jönsson)
Simon Röstin (with a bow tie,
behind the bridegroom and Araya Selassie Verreta [= Worota?])
and Anna-Lena Röstin (next to the bride)

Further readings

1. Selected Sources
1.1 Swedish

Röstin, Anna-Lena. Arvet i främlingars hand: Det fria Etiopien in memoriam [The heritage in alien hands: In memory of the free Ethiopia]. Stockholm: [Seelig,] 1936. [399 p.; Stockholm, Kungliga bibl.]

—. Svarta och vita: Abessinienskildringar [Black and white: Abyssinian stories]. Stockholm: SKM, 1937. [176 p.; varia bibl.]

Röstin, Simon. Article about translating Luther’s Small Catechism into Amharic, etc. Bibeltrogna Vänner Missionstidning [Bible-True Friends’ Mission Journal] 10 (1925), 154-57.

—. Missionskallet [The mission call]. Stockholm: Bibeltrogna vänner, 1931. [66 p.; Stockholm, Kungliga bibl.]

—. Guds rike [The Kingdom of God]. Stockholm: Bibeltrogna vänner, 1931. [260 p.; Stockholm, Kungliga bibl.]

—. Anna Lenas sista bok [Anna Lena’s Last Book]. Helsingborg, 1973.

—. Grammar of the Amharic language. Unpublished manuscript.

Röstin, Simon (?). Article describing the 1935 hymnal, Bibeltrogna Vänners Missionstidning, 1934:3, p. 39.

1.2 Amharic
1.2.1 Publications

Səbhat läʼamlak [?]. Hymnal, co-edited by Simon Röstin. Asmara: Swedish Mission Press, 1935.

4 Gospels in Amharic. Published by the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS), Addis Ababa. A revision by a committee including Nils Nilsson (Swedish Evangelical Mission), Simon Röstin (Bibeltrogna Vänner), Ato Araye and Ato Wolde Semait. Copies available at the BFBS Archives at Cambridge Univ. Library:

_ _ _ (St. Luke). 1935.

  • Coltham, Bibliography, # 90: “An edition of 10,000 copies was printed for distribution among Ethiopian soldiers during the war between Ethiopia and Italy.”

_ _ _ (St. Mark). 1935.

_ _ _ (St. John). 1936.

_ _ _ (St. Matthew). 1936.

1.2.2 Manuscripts

Luther, Martin. Great Catechism. Tr. Simon Röstin. Manuscript.

Rosenius, C.O. Day by Day with God. Tr. Simon Röstin. Manuscript lost in 1936 (during Italian occupation of Addis Ababa)

2. Literature

Hjort, Bengt; Mekonnen Gerremew, and Rune Imberg. Joint Endeavour in the Work for the Gospel: The Background, Formation and Development of the Ethiopian Evangelical Lutheran Church. Part 1: The Pioneer Period 1921 – 1935. Stockholm: Books on Demand, 2022. [Read sample on Amazon.com (Kindle)]

Launhardt, Johannes. Evangelicals in Addis Ababa (1919-1991): With special reference to the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Addis Ababa Synod. Münster: Lit Verlag, 2004.