Thursday, June 9, 2011

Feast of St. Ephrem, Doctor of the Church

Poet, teacher, orator and defender of the faith, Ephrem is the only Syrian recognized as a doctor of the Church. He took upon himself the special task of opposing the many false doctrines rampant at his time, always remaining a true and forceful defender of the Catholic Church.

He had a prolific pen and his writings best illumine his holiness. Although he was not a man of great scholarship, his works reflect deep insight and knowledge of the Scriptures. In writing about the mysteries of humanity's redemption, Ephrem reveals a realistic and humanly sympathetic spirit and a great devotion to the humanity of Jesus. It is said that his poetic account of the Last Judgment inspired Dante.

It is surprising to read that he wrote hymns against the heretics of his day. He would take the popular songs of the heretical groups and, using their melodies, compose beautiful hymns embodying orthodox doctrine. Ephrem became one of the first to introduce song into the Church's public worship as a means of instruction for the faithful. His many hymns have earned him the title "Harp of the Holy Spirit."
He preferred a simple, austere life, living in a small cave overlooking the city of Edessa. It was here he died around 373.

From AmericanCatholic,org "Saint of the Day"

Virtues are formed by prayer. 
Prayer preserves temperance. 
Prayer suppresses anger. 
Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. 
Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven.

– St. Ephrem of Syria

Lay me not with sweet spices,
For this honor avails me not,
Nor yet use incense and perfumes,
For the honor befits me not.
Burn yet the incense in the holy place;
As for me, escort me only with your prayers,
Give ye your incense to God,
And over me send up hymns.
Instead of perfumes and spices,
Be mindful of me in your intercessions.
(From The Testament of St. Ephrem)

1 comment:

  1. Dear Julie,

    I work for The Maximus Group, and we are working on an event in Bradenton on June 28 that you may be interested in. Will you please email me at Thank you in advance. I hope to hear from you soon. God Bless,

    Tim Lilley
    Director of Communications
    The Maximus Group