ST EPHREM THE SYRIAN; DEACON, CONFESSOR, AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – MEMORIAL: JUNE 9
Ephrem was of Syrian descent and the son of a citizen of Nisibis. While yet a young man, he went to the holy Bishop James, by whom he was baptised. In a short while, he made such progress in holiness and learning that he was appointed teacher of a flourishing school at Nisibis, a Mesopotamian city. He was ordained deacon of the Church of Edessa, and refusing the priesthood out of humility, he was conspicuous with the splendour of every virtue and strove to acquire piety and religion by professing true wisdom.
HE WAS CONSPICUOUS WITH THE SPLENDOUR OF EVERY VIRTUE
His works, taken as a whole, are so infused with the bright light of his learning, that this holy man, even while yet living, was held in great honour and even considered a Doctor of the Church. He was noted, above all, for his great and tender devotion to the Immaculate Virgin. Full of merits, he died at Edessa in Mesopotamia on the fourteenth of the Calends of July , in the reign of Valens. Pope Benedict XV declared him, by a decree of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, to be a Doctor of the Universal Church.
O God, who willed to enlighten your Church by the wondrous learning and glorious merits of the life of blessed Ephrem, your Confessor and Doctor, we humbly pray you that, by his pleading, you will shield her with your lasting power against the snares of error and evil. Through our Lord…
– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold headings added]