Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Ephrem of Syria (c. 306–373)

Saint Ephrem of Syria (c. 306–373)

Feast day: June 9

Saint Ephrem of Syria was a well-known teacher in his native city of Nisibis, Mesopotamia. He traveled as a refugee to Edessa when the Persians overcame Nisibis. In Edessa, he resumed his status as a renowned teacher, bringing recognition to the biblical school there. Saint Ephrem was a celebrated writer, and his tomes show his profound insight and understanding of Scripture. In his writings, Saint Ephrem exhibited a strong devotion to the humanity of Jesus.

Saint Ephrem also had a poetic nature, and it is said that his poetic version of the Last Judgment inspired Dante. He was given the title “Harp of the Holy Spirit” because he was one of the pioneers who introduced the use of song into the Church’s public worship as a way to instruct the faithful. Saint Ephrem enjoyed living a simple, somber lifestyle, and took up residence in a tiny cave near Edessa.

Saint Ephrem is the only Syrian who is recognized as a Doctor of the Church. 

(Image in public domain-70)