Friday, June 9, 2017


Today we remember Saint Ephrem a fourth century scholar from Syria. Although he later retired to a cave on the outskirts of the city, he was a well-respected preacher in Edessa. Ephrem's concern was always to oppose local heretics, who spread their false teachings by setting them to popular tunes. So it was that in defense of the faith, very creatively Ephrem began to compose his own poetic lyrics to be sung to the same tunes. He then trained a choir of local women to chant these tunes during the liturgy. It is said that this is the beginning of organized hymn singing as a part of worship and as a means of religious instruction. Saint Ephrem became known as the "Harp of the Holy Spirit.”

Supported by the prayers of Saint Ephrem, we promise to use all our talents, all that we have and all that we are to praise our Lord.

See Butler's Lives of the Saints, the July volume, for Saint Ephrem's complete biography.