Icon of St. Ephraim of Syria – S73


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Church Feast Day 1



Egg Tempera


20th c. (Late)


Ginala, Maria


St. Ephraim was born in Nisibus (modern day Turkey) in a.d. 306 of pious Christians.  He came under the spiritual guidance of St. James of Nisibus, and entered deeply into study, writing, teaching, and prayer.  He was ordained a reader and then a deacon in the Church under St. James.  There were savage persecutions of Christians under Diocletian which were also felt in Nisibus, at that time a part of the Roman Empire.  After the Edict of Milan in a.d. 313 and St. Constantine I became the emperor, there was a time of peace.  When Constantine died, the Persian King Shapur II attacked the northern Syrian province of Mesopotamia, of which Nisibus was a part.  The city finally came to the Persians when the Emperor Julian was killed, and the Christians were driven out.

St. Ephraim moved to Edessa where he composed hymns, sacred poetry and various writings, championing the correct Nicean doctrine of the Holy Trinity.   He lived like a monk in celibacy and poverty but without formal monastic training, and after a full life, he died at age 66 in a.d. 373.  His beautiful and well known prayer of repentance is said often by the Faithful during Great Lent.