In a solemn atmosphere, Hieromok Stefan (Igumnov), Senator Igor Morozov, and Russian Ambassador to Djibouti Michael Golovanov unveiled a commemorative plaque in honor of the first Russian mission to that country. It arrived in Djibouti in 1889 to establish a small trading post and pay a visit to the Emperor of Ethiopia, Menelik II, and to the Primate of the Ethiopian Church.
Djibouti is a gateway to Africa, so delegations used to arrive here along the Red Sea, and then set off with camel caravans on their journey deeper into the continent. The first Russian mission included about 150 people and was headed by Archimandrite Paisiy (Balabanov) and the Cossack Nikolai Ivanovich Ashinov.
The Russian mission settled in an ancient Egyptian fort in the village of Sagallo on the northern coast of the Gulf of Tadzhur. It was warmly received by the locals - the Afar tribe and their ruler. But a French ship arrived and gunned the Russian settlers down. Some were killed, and others were taken prisoner and brought to Alexandria.
Russia has never come to Africa to colonize it. Local tribes are still welcoming to the Russians and are even ready to allocate a plot of land for the construction of a chapel at the burial site of our compatriots. The African Exarchate initiated a search for their graves. The remains of the Egyptian Fort Sagallo were examined. In the future, this will help to locate the spot where the murdered members of the expedition led by Archimandrite Paisius and Nikolai Ashinov were buried.