Deacon and Doctor of the Church (d. 373)
+ Ephrem was born in Nisibis, in what is modern-day Turkey.
+ A renowned theologian and preacher, he is celebrated as the greatest poet of the Syrian Church.
+ One of the Church’s earliest hymn-writers, he used his poems and hymns to counter the efforts of local heretical groups who were spreading their teachings through sung verse.
+ Honored for his many sermons and commentaries on Scripture, Ephrem died in 373 and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1920. His is sometimes honored as a special patron of spiritual directors.
For prayer and reflection
“Lord, do not deprive our souls of the spiritual vision of you nor our bodies of your warmth and sweetness… may the spiritual waters of your love cleanse the effects of mortality from our hearts Grant, Lord, that we may hasten to our true city.”—Saint Ephrem
On this day we also remember Blessed Robert Salt. A laybrother in the Carthusian Order, he was arrested and subsequently died of starvation on June 9, 1537, for his refusal acknowledge King Henry VIII as the supreme head of the Church in England in the early months of the English Reformation. Blessed Robert was beatified with other English martyrs in 1886.
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,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.