Deacon and Doctor of the Church: 306-373
+ Ephrem was born in Nisibis in Mesopotamia. It is likely that his parents were pagans and that they disowned their son when he converted to Christianity.
+ After Persian invaders took control of his home city, Ephrem fled to safety with other Christians. He later lived as a hermit near Edessa, often traveling to the city to preach.
+ Around the year 370, he traveled to Cappadocia to meet with Saint Basil “the Great.” He died three years later after having exhausted himself traveling through the region persuading the rich to provide food and money for the poor during a famine.
Saint Ephrem is remembered as the greatest poet of the Syrian Church and as one of Church’s earliest hymn-writers. He used these texts to help combat the many heresies that were undermining the Christian Faith. He is also honored for his many sermons and commentaries on Scripture. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1920.
“Sunrise marks the hour for men to begin their toil, but in our souls, Lord, prepare a dwelling for the day that will never end.”—Saint Ephrem of Syria
Pour into our hearts O Lord, we pray, the Holy Spirit,
at whose prompting the Deacon Saint Ephrem
exulted in singing of your mysteries
and from whom he received the strength
to serve you alone.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.