Ephrem the Syrian

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28 January (Eastern Orthodox Church, Antiochian Catholic Church in America, Eastern Catholic Churches)
7th Saturday before Easter (Syriac Orthodox Church)
June 8 (Scottish Episcopal Church)
June 9 (Roman Catholic Church and Church of England)
June 10 (Church in Wales and Episcopal Church in the USA)

Ephrem the Syrian (Aramaic / Syriac: ܐܦܪܝܡ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ, Mor/Mar Afrêm Sûryāyâ; Greek: Ἐφραίμ ὁ Σῦρος; Latin: Ephraem Syrus; ca. 306 – 373) was a Syriac and a prolific Syriac-language hymnographer and theologian of the 4th century.[1][2][3][4] He is venerated by Christians throughout the world, and especially in the Syriac Orthodox Church, as a saint.

Ephrem wrote a wide variety of hymns, poems, and sermons in verse, as well as prose biblical exegesis. These were works of practical theology for the edification of the church in troubled times. So popular were his works, that, for centuries after his death, Christian authors wrote hundreds of pseudepigraphous works in his name. Ephrem's works witness to an early form of Christianity in which western ideas take little part. He has been called the most significant of all of the fathers of the Syriac-speaking church tradition.[5]

Contents

Life

Ephrem was born around the year 306 in the city of Nisibis (the modern Turkish town of Nusaybin, on the border with Syria, which had come into Roman hands only in 298). Internal evidence from Ephrem's hymnody suggests that both his parents were part of the growing Christian community in the city, although later hagiographers wrote that his father was a pagan priest. Numerous languages were spoken in the Nisibis of Ephrem's day, mostly dialects of Aramaic. The Christian community used the Syriac dialect. The culture included pagan religions, Judaism and early Christian sects.

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