Saturday, February 25, 2012

First Satuday of Holy Lent - St. Ephraim -5

We celebrate the first Saturday of the Lent Memory of St Theodore and St Ephraim. This is the fifth and concluding part of this short article on St. Ephraim by my friend Jacob Varghese of Sharjah

Mar Aprem - 'Harp of the Holy Spirit' - 1st Sat of Great Lent

In spite of the gifts, which God so lavishly bestowed upon him, St. Ephraim remained deeply humble. He even feigned madness so as to avoid being consecrated bishop and the glory that attends that position. Doubtless, his humility was guarded by the remembrance of the sins of his youth and by his contrite spirit, which followed upon this remembrance. But while tears of repentance constantly flowed from his eyes, Ephraim's face was bright and shone with joy. As St. Gregory writes: "Where Ephraim speaks of contrition, he lifts our thought to the Divine goodness and pours cut thanksgiving and praise to the Most High."

On January 28, 373, after a brief illness, St. Ephraim reposed from his labors and was received into the heavenly habitations. He died as a "solitary" in a cell on a Rock Hill. After a life of good works, preaching, religious writings and ascetical exercises, he died when he was 67 in 373. His death occurred in the same year as that of St. Athanasius, another glorious Doctor of the Church. St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote his life history. Our Church remembers St. Ephraim on the first Saturday of the Great Lent, along with St. Theodorus. A major part of the hymns used in our liturgy is authored by Mar Aprem, who is considered as a fortune and treasure of our Church.

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