St Ephrem the Syrian, Deacon, Confessor and Doctor of the Church

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St Ephrem was born in Nisbis in Mesopotamia around the year 303. St Ephrem’s father banished him from his home as Ephrem was sympathetic to the Christians. After he was baptised Ephrem became renowned as a teacher. Many Christians, including Ephrem, were forced to flee their country when it was taken over by the Persians. He moved to Edessa which is now in modern day Iraq. There his reputation grew because of his great understanding of the Holy Scriptures. He was ordained a deacon but strenuously resisted any attempt to bestow any further honours on him. He fought a gallant fight against all forms of heresy.

St Ephrem is best remembered for his hymn writing. He used hymns to promote true teaching in the face of many heretics, often using their own melodies to promote his cause. He is credited with introducing sung music into Christian services. He lived a life of simplicity and poverty in a cave outside Edessa and died in 373.

St Ephrem, pray for us.

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