Readings:

Psalm 98:5-10
Proverbs 3:1-7
Ephesians 3:8-12
Matthew 13:4-52 

Preface of a Saint (1)

[Common of an Arist, Writer, or Composer]
[Common of a Thelogian and Teacher]
[For Artists and Writers]
 

PRAYER (traditional language)
   Pour out upon us, O Lord, that same Spirit by which thy deacon Ephrem rejoiced to proclaim in sacred song the mysteries of faith; and so gladden our hearts that we, like him, may be devoted to thee alone; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

PRAYER (contemporary language)
   Pour out on us, O Lord, that same Spirit by which your deacon Ephrem rejoiced to proclaim in sacred song the mysteries of faith; and so gladden our hearts that we, like him, may be devoted to you alone; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
 
 

Lessons revised at GC 2009.

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Last updated: 9 April 2016
 

EPHREM OF EDESSA

DEACON AND HYMN-WRITER (10 JUNE 373)

 
Icon of Ephrem of EdessaEphrem (or Ephren or Ephraim or Ephrain) of Edessa was a teacher, poet, orator, and defender of the Faith. (To English-speakers, the most familiar form of his name will be "Ephraim." It is the name of the younger son of Joseph, son of Jacob (see Genesis 41:52), and is thus the name of one of the largest of the twelve tribes of Israel.) Edessa (now Urfa), a city in modern Turkey about 100 kilometers from Antioch (now Antakya), was a an early center for the spread of Christian teaching in the East. It is said that in 325 he accompanied his bishop, James of Nisibis, to the Council of Nicea. Certainly his writings are an eloquent defense of the Nicene faith in the Deity of Jesus Christ.  He countered the Gnostics' practice of spreading their message through popular songs by composing Christian songs and hymns of his own, with great effect.  He is known to the Syrian church as "the harp of the Holy Spirit."

Ephrem retired to a cave outside Edessa, where he lived in great simplicity and devoted himself to writing. He frequently went into the city to preach. During a famine in 372-3 he worked distributing food to the hungry, and organizing a sort of ambulance service for the sick. He worked long hours at this, and became exhausted and sick, and so died.

Of his writings there remain 72 hymns, commentaries on the Old and New Testaments, and numerous sermons. 

Several hymns are available at:
 http://www.voskrese.info/spl/XefremSyria.html
 

Among Orthodox he is best known for a fasting prayer:

THE PRAYER OF ST EPHRAIM THE SYRIAN

     O Lord and Master of my life, do not give me the spirit of laziness, meddling, self-importance and idle talk. (prostration)
     Instead, grace me, Your servant, with the spirit of modesty, humility, patience, and love. (prostration)
     Indeed, my Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults, and not condemn my brothers and sisters, for You are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen. (prostration)
     (Twelve deep bows, saying each time:  O God, be gracious to me, a sinner.)
     [Translation by Fr James Silver, Drew University; posted on the Orthodox list]
 
 

by James Kiefer

[text of two hymns omitted]