Saturday, February 25, 2012

First Saturday of Holy Lent St. Ephraim -3

We celebrate the first Saturday of the Lent Memory of St Theodore and St Ephraim. This is the third 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

St. Ephraim once had a revelation regarding St. Basil the Great. He saw in a vision a pillar of fire reaching to heaven, and he heard a voice: "Ephraim, Ephraim! Such as you see this pillar of fire, so, too, is Basil!" The vision inspired Ephraim with the desire to see this great Teacher of the Church, and, taking with him an interpreter (for he spoke no Greek), he journeyed to Caesarea in Cappadocia. There the holy hierarch greeted the desert-dweller with a corresponding enthusiasm and admiration: "I now see that what I heard about you is true. It is written in the Prophet David: Ephraim is the strength of my head (Ps. 59:9). These prophetic words refer truly to you, for you have led many to [he way of virtue and strengthened them in it. And your meekness and dispassion of heart shin e for all, like the light."
Then Basil the Great asked: "Why, venerable father, do you not receive consecration to the order of priesthood, as befits you?" "Because I am a sinner, my lord!" answered Ephraim through the interpreter. "O, if only I had your sins!" said Basil, and added: "Let us make a prostration to the ground."
But when they were bowed to the ground, St. Basil laid his hand on St. Ephraim's head and recited the prayer of consecration to the diaconate. That is how St. Ephraim was made a deacon and ordained to the diaconate and was a lecturer in the newly-established school at Nisibis He was at that time about sixty years old. It was the Saint's desire to continue in the hermetic life, but such was his talent as a preacher that the Lord would not have his light hidden under a bushel. Obedient to the Lord's will as revealed to him by an angel, Ephraim returned to Edessa where he began again to instruct people in the Faith. There he also established a college, which later produced many famous teachers of the Syrian Church

To be Continued....

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