Saint Ephrem the Syrian
Jul 06, 2015 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast June 9
Ephrem was born about the year 306 in Nisibis in Mesopotamia and is the only Syrian Doctor of the Church. He was a vigorous defender of the Faith, taking it upon himself to expose and combat many false doctrines of his time.
In 350, Ephrem and other Christians were forced to flee their homes when the Persians attacked their city. The holy deacon retired to a cave in a rocky height overlooking Edessa and lived most austerely until his death in 373.
Ephrem is known as the “Harp of the Holy Spirit” because he was a great poet and composer of holy songs. It has been said that Ephrem prayed to Our Lord to “stop the flow of inspiration” because he could not work fast enough to pen all the compositions in his head.
“St. Ephrem’s Prayer” is considered to be the Lenten prayer par excellence in the Byzantine Rite tradition as it succinctly summarizes the true spirit of Great Lent:
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity (integrity), humility, patience and love.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother.
For blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Also called “the zither of Mary,” Ephrem wrote most of his compositions in his cave above Edessa, dedicating many of them to Our Lady, to whom he had a great devotion.
He is credited with bringing song into the offering of the Holy Liturgy of the Mass. Pope Benedict XV proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1920.