St. Ephaem’s Prayer

December 5, 2004

ST. EPHAEM’S PRAYER by Ray Pritchard Most of us, I suppose, have never heard of St. Ephraem of Syria. Or perhaps I shouldn’t suppose that. The only thing I know for certain is that I had never heard of him before this week. While attending a pastors’ luncheon last Tuesday, Wilbur Ellsworth shared a prayer by St. Ephaem that is over 1,700 years old. Ephraem (sometimes spelled Ephrem) was a deacon and a preacher who may have attended the Council of Nicea in AD 325. Following the persecution of 363, he led a group of Christians to Edessa (in modern Iraq) where he founded a theological school. He was a prolific writer and poet, although not all of his work has survived. He is remembered as a strong opponent of the various Gnostic heresies that troubled the early church. One source calls him the light and glory of the Syriac Church. It is said that he often wept when he preached, and that no one ever saw him angry after he become a follower of Christ. It is clear that he had a strong sense of his own sinfulness to the very end of his life. “What was the secret of success so various and so complete? Humility, which made him distrust himself and trust God.”

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?