Fourth-century Christian St. Ephrem (left), aka “the harp of the Holy Ghost,” is the only Syrian recognized as a doctor of the church. He wrote more than 1,000 poems, many of which were put to music or to chant.
Pope Benedict said: “Poetry allowed [St. Ephrem] to deepen his theological reflections through paradoxes and images. His theology became both liturgy and music at the same time: He was indeed a great composer and musician.”
Currently, there are an estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011, taking refuge in neighboring countries or within Syria itself. (Right, Syrian refugee.)
With St. Ephrem, take a moment to pray for the people of Syria and the woman in this image.
“O Lord, make the priests and kings peaceful;
That in one Church priests may pray for their kings,
And kings spare those round about them;
And may the peace which is within Thee become ours, Lord,
Thou that art within and without all things!” –St. Ephrem
“Lay me not with sweet spices,
For this honor avails me not,
Nor yet use incense and perfumes,
For the honor befits me not.
Burn yet the incense in the holy place;
As for me, escort me only with your prayers,
Give ye your incense to God,
And over me send up hymns.
Instead of perfumes and spices,
Be mindful of me in your intercessions.”
(From The Testament of St. Ephrem)