Today the church remembers Ephrem of Edessa, Syria, Deacon, 373.Christianity flourished early in Syria, and Antioch was a major center of the church. Although that land is today dominated by Islam, the Syrian Orthodox Church still has well over a million members. One of the great fathers of the church in Syria was Ephrem of Edessa. Ephrem was the head of a very successful Christian school in Edessa. There he championed the Nicene faith, and in fact he may have been present in Nicaea for the famous council which met there in 325. He became well-known for the austerity and sanctity of his life as well as for his learning. His writings are voluminous and include biblical commentaries, essays on dogma, history, and biography, as well as a host of hymns. Many of the latter have long been an integral part of Syrian Orthodox worship. The Anglican Communion has long enjoyed warm and friendly relations with the Syrian Church. Ephrem's feast would seem an appropriate time to give thanks to God for this relationship and for the witness of the Syrian Christians today and through the ages. Almighty God, who enriched your church with the singular learning and holiness of your Deacon Ephrem: Grant us to hold fast the true doctrine of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and to fashion our lives according to the same, to the glory of your great Name. Amen.
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Pour out on us, O Lord, that same Spirit by which your deacon Ephrem rejoiced to proclaim in sacred song the mysteries of faith; and so gladden our hearts that we, like him, may be devoted to you alone; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.