- ● Orthodox Remembrance Day: January 28
● Name means: the doubly fertile (from Hebrew)
● Deacon, Doctor of the Church
● Born around 306 in Nisibis, today Nusaybin, Turkey
● Died on the June 9, 373 in Edessa, today Sanlıurfa, Turkey
Ephraem the Syrian is revered as one of the greatest theologians and literary figures of early
Christianity. While some sources suggest that his parents were both Christian, others imply that
his father was a pagan priest. Regardless of his family background, it is clear that Ephraem was
influenced by Christian teachings from an early age.
As a young man, he was greatly influenced by the Bishop Jacob of Nisibis, who was known for
his asceticism and erudition. Later in life, he also came under the tutelage of Bishop Vologeses,
who further shaped his spiritual and intellectual development. At the age of 18, Ephraem was
baptized and began living an ascetic lifestyle.
Ephraem’s contributions to the early Church were numerous. At the age of 30, he was ordained a
deacon and taught at the renowned monastic school in his hometown of Nisibis. However, when
the city fell to the Persians in 363, Ephraem fled to Edessa. There, he lived as a hermit, caring for
the poor and needy.
As his reputation grew, Ephraem founded a school in Edessa and became a respected authority
on theology and morality. He was particularly interested in Sacred Scripture, and his theological
writings demonstrate a deep understanding of the Aramaic-Semitic tradition. Ephraem’s
teachings were admired for their clarity and depth, and he gained a large following throughout
Today, Ephraem is recognized as one of the Doctors of the Church, a title bestowed upon him by
the Orthodox Church. In 1920, Pope Benedict XV also declared him a Doctor of the Church in
the Catholic tradition. His legacy endures, as his writings continue to inspire and challenge
Christians around the world.