Tuesday, June 9, 1998
Green and White vestments
First Reading: 1 Kings 17: 7-16
Psalms: Psalms 4: 2-5, 7-8
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5: 13-16
SAINT EPHREM OF SYRIA, DEACON AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
The Deacon Saint Ephrem or Ephraem was born in Mesopotamia in the year 306. Some historians claim he was born into a Christian family but most contend he was brought into a pagan family and abandoned. He was found by good Christians who took him in and baptized him in 324. The following year he accompanied his bishop Saint James of Nisibis to the Council of Nicea. Bishop James was so impressed with Ephrem's commitment to the Church and his progress in the faith that he charged him to begin a school in Edessa. Though he succeeded masterfully the Persian armies invaded forcing Ephrem and all the Christians of the village into hiding in 363. Ephrem sought refuge in a nearby cave, but refused to live as a hermit opting instead to veer from his hiding place to help others. His charity moved many who beseeched him to preach. This he did as well as seeking food and shelter for many Christians. He died in his cave in 373 during the great famine of that time. Ephrem was totally devoted to the Blessed Mother always proclaiming her Immaculate Conception throughout his life and spreading devotion to Our Lady. Many invoke him as the witness to her total purity for he was totally convinced of this and did not hesitate to share it with all he met. He also left numerous writings and hymns for posterity which qualified him as the only Syrian to be named a Doctor of the Church. This was accomplished by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.