St. Ephraim the Syrian

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Saint Ephrem (306-373), or Ephraim in Latin, was  a prominent Christian theologian and writer, who is revered as one of the most notable hymnographers of Eastern Christianity. He was born in Nisibis where the majority of the population spoke Aramaic.  He grew up under the leadership of Jacob of Nisibis, who is recorded as a signatory at the First Council of Nicea in 325.  Jacob appointed Ephrem as a teacher and that is when he began to compose hymns and write biblical commentaries as part of his educational office.  When the Persian Emperor Shapur II seized Nisibis and expelled all of the Christian population, Ephrem relocated to Edessa. After a ten-year residency in Edessa, Ephrem succumbed to the plague as he ministered to its victims.

Extant Writings:

  • The Nisibene Hymns:  1. THE SIEGE OF NISIBIS (I-III)
  • The Nisibene Hymns:  2. THE PERSIAN INVASION (IV-XII)
  • The Nisibene Hymns:  3. THE BISHOPS OF NISIBIS (XIII-XVI)
  • The Nisibene Hymns:  4. ABRAHAM THEIR SUCCESSOR (XVII-XXI)
  • The Nisibene Hymns:  5. CONCERNING SATAN AND DEATH (XXXV-XLII)
  • The Nisibene Hymns:  6. CONCERNING SATAN AND DEATH (LII-LXVIII)
  • On the Nativity of Christ in the Flesh
  • For the Feast of the Epiphany
  • On the Faith (“The Pearl”)
  • Homily on Our Lord
  • Homily on Admonition and Repentance
  • Homily on the Sinful Woman

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