St. Ephraim the Syrian

 quotes from Ephraim the Syrian:→

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)
  • 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

Quotes & Excerpts:

“In the womb of Mary the Infant was formed, who from eternity is equal to the Father. He imparted to us His greatness. and took on our infirmity. He became mortal like us and joined His life to ours, so that we might die no more.” – Songs of Praise (350 A.D.)

“You victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Savior, you who have boldness of speech toward the Lord himself, you saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us so that we may love him.” –Commentary on Mark (Written 370 A.D.)

“Awake, my harp,
your songs in praise of the Virgin Mary!
Lift up your voice and sing the wonderful history of the Virgin, the daughter of David,
who gave birth to the Life of the World.”
-Songs of Praise 1:1
(Written ca 350 A.D.)

“‘Your floors shall be filled with wheat and the presses shall overflow equally
with wine and oil,’ ; (Joel 2:24)
This has been fulfilled mystically by Christ, who gave the people whom He redeemed
-that is the Church-
wheat, wine and oil in a mystic manner.
For the wheat is the mystery of
His sacred Body; the wine His saving Blood; and the oil is the sweet unguent with which those who are Baptized are signed…”
-Commentary on Joel 2:24 (Written ca 360 A.D.)

“Mary and Eve, two people without guilt, two simple people, were identical.
Later, however,
one became the cause of our death, the other the cause of our life.”
– Op. Syr. II: 37
(Written ca. 360 A.D.)

“The Virgin became a Mother while preserving her virginity; and though still a Virgin, she carried a child in her womb; and the Handmaid and the work of His Wisdom became the Mother of God.”
– Songs of Praise 1:20 (Written 350 A.D.)

“Blessed are you also, Mary, whose name is great and exalted because of your Child.
Indeed you were able to say how and where the Great One, Who became small, dwelt in you.”  -Hymns on the Nativity 25:14
(Written in 350 A.D.)
translation by Kathleen McVey, CWS

“You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is no blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother.
Who of my children can compare in beauty to these?” – Nisibene Hymns 27:8 (Written in 361 A.D.)

“The Virgin Mary is a symbol of the Church when she receives the first announcement of the gospel. And, it is in the name of the Church that Mary sees the risen Jesus. Blessed be God, who filled Mary and the Church with joy. We call the Church by the name of Mary, for she deserves a double name.” – Sermo ad noct. Resurr. 1:534 (Written 350 A.D.)

“Mary gave birth without having relations with a man, as in the beginning Eve was born from Adam without a carnal relationship.
Eve brought to the world the murdering Cain;
Mary brought forth the Lifegiver.
One brougnt into the world him who spilled the blood of his brother, the other, him whose blood was poured out for the sake of his brothers.
One brought into the world, him who fled, trembling because of the curse of the earth; the other brought forth him who, having taken the curse upon himself, nailed it to the Cross.” -Harmonization of the Gospels 2:2 (Written 350 A.D.)

“After the disciples had eaten the new and holy Bread and, when they understood by faith that they had eaten Christ’s Body, Christ went on to explain and give them the whole Sacrament.” – Homilies 4:6 (Written ca 338 A.D.)

“By means of the oil, the Holy Spirit impresses His seal upon the sheep;
Like a signet pressed in wax, so also the invisible seal of the Spirit is impressed on our bodies with the oil with which we were anointed in Baptism, whereby we bear His seal.” – Hymns on Virginity 7:6 (Written ca 350 A.D.)

“The Church gave us the living Bread, in place of the unleavened bread Egypt had given. Mary gave us refreshing bread, in place of the fatiguing bread that Eve had procured for us.”  -Hymns on the Unleavened Bread 6:6-7 (Written 350 A.D.)

“Remember me, you heirs of God, you brethren of Christ; supplicate the Savior earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day.” -The Fear at the End of life (Written in 370 A.D.)

“Queen of all after the Trinity, Consoler after the Paraclete, Mediatrix of the whole world after the Mediator.” – Oratio ad Dei Matrem (Written ca 350 A.D.)

“Thou art the only advocate of sinners, and of all who are unprotected. Hail, refuge and hospital of sinners!” – Songs of Praise (Written ca 350 A.D.)