Ephrem of Syria

9 June -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Teachers, page 473

Born of Christian parents around 306, Ephrem was baptised as a young man and then ordained deacon. His early years were spent as a teacher in Nisibis in Mesopotamia until the city fell under Persian occupation in 363. Fleeing from his home, he settled in Edessa (Urfa in south-east Turkey) where he established a school of theology. Best known for his Syriac poetry, Ephrem is acclaimed as the greatest poet of the early Christian centuries, described by his contemporaries as the 'Harp of the Spirit'. His hymns, still used today, have found a place in liturgical traditions outside the East Syrian Church. He died on this day in Edessa in the year 373, ministering to victims of the plague.