Friday, January 27, 2012

January 28, 2012 - 33rd Saturday After Pentecost


Ephraim the Syrian
Isaac the Syrian, Bishop of Ninevah
James the Righteous
Palladios the Hermit of Antioch

Τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρός ἡμῶν Ἐφραίμ τοῦ Σύρου.

The Reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 5:22-26; 6:1-2
Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Πρὸς Γαλάτας 5:22-26; 6:1-2
Ἀδελφοί, ὁ καρπὸς τοῦ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἀγάπη, χαρά, εἰρήνη, μακροθυμία, χρηστότης, ἀγαθωσύνη, πίστις, πρᾳότης, ἐγκράτεια· κατὰ τῶν τοιούτων οὐκ ἔστιν νόμος. Οἱ δὲ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὴν σάρκα ἐσταύρωσαν σὺν τοῖς παθήμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις. Εἰ ζῶμεν πνεύματι, πνεύματι καὶ στοιχῶμεν. Μὴ γινώμεθα κενόδοξοι, ἀλλήλους προκαλούμενοι, ἀλλήλοις φθονοῦντες. Ἀδελφοί, ἐὰν καὶ προληφθῇ ἄνθρωπος ἔν τινι παραπτώματι, ὑμεῖς οἱ πνευματικοὶ καταρτίζετε τὸν τοιοῦτον ἐν πνεύματι πρᾳότητος, σκοπῶν σεαυτόν μὴ καὶ σὺ πειρασθῇς. Ἀλλήλων τὰ βάρη βαστάζετε, καὶ οὕτως ἀναπληρώσατε τὸν νόμον τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

The Reading is from Luke 6:17-23
At that time, Jesus stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on His disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven."

Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 6.17-23
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἔστη ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐπὶ τόπου πεδινοῦ, καὶ ὄχλος μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ, καὶ πλῆθος πολὺ τοῦ λαοῦ ἀπὸ πάσης τῆς ᾿Ιουδαίας καὶ ῾Ιερουσαλὴμ καὶ τῆς παραλίου Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος, οἳ ἦλθον ἀκοῦσαι αὐτοῦ καὶ ἰαθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν νόσων αὐτῶν,καὶ οἱ ὀχλούμενοι ἀπὸ πνευμάτων ἀκαθάρτων, καὶ ἐθεραπεύοντο·καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος ἐζήτει ἅπτεσθαι αὐτοῦ, ὅτι δύναμις παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐξήρχετο καὶ ἰᾶτο πάντας. Καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἔλεγε· Mακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί, ὅτι ὑμετέρα ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ. μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες νῦν, ὅτι χορτασθήσεσθε. μακάριοι οἱ κλαίοντες νῦν, ὅτι γελάσετε. μακάριοί ἐστε ὅταν μισήσωσιν ὑμᾶς οἱ ἄνθρωποι, καὶ ὅταν ἀφορίσωσιν ὑμᾶς καὶ ὀνειδίσωσι καὶ ἐκβάλωσι τὸ ὄνομα ὑμῶν ὡς πονηρὸν ἕνεκα τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. χάρητε ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ σκιρτήσατε· ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ· κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν.

Τῇ ΚΗ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἐφραὶμ τοῦ Σύρου.
Ἤκουσε γλῶτταν ψαλμικῶς, ἣν οὐκ ἔγνω,
Ἐφραίμ, ἄνω καλοῦσαν, ὁ γλῶσσαν Σῦρος.
Εἰκάδι ὀγδοάτῃ Νόες Ἐφραὶμ θυμὸν ἀπηῦρον.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Παλλαδίου.
Κρείττων ὑπάρξας σαρκικῶν σκιρτημάτων,
Σκιρτᾷ παρ᾿ αὐτῷ Παλλάδιος τῷ πόλῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Μνήμη τοῦ Ὁσίου Πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἰακώβου τοῦ Ἀσκητοῦ.
Ἀπῆλθε σαρκός, ὥσπερ ἒκ τινος πάγης,
Ὁ σαρκός, Ἰάκωβος οὐχ ἁλοὺς πάγαις.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, αἱ ἅγιαι δύο Μάρτυρες, μήτηρ καὶ θυγάτηρ, ξίφει τελειοῦνται.
Τῇ παιδὶ συγκλίνασα μήτηρ τὴν κάραν,
Ξίφει συνεξέπνευσε τῷ θυγατρίῳ.
Τῇ αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ, ἡ ἁγία Χάρις τοὺς πόδας ἐκκοπεῖσα τελειοῦται.
Πόδας Χάρις τμηθεῖσα, πρὸς Θεὸν τρέχει∙
Τοὺς ψυχικοὺς γὰρ οὐ συνετμήθη πόδας.
Ταῖς τῶν ἁγίων σου πρεσβείαις, ὁ Θεός, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. Ἀμήν.
Saint Ephraim was born in Nisibis of Mesopotamia some time about the year 306, and in his youth was the disciple of Saint James, Bishop of Nisibis, one of the 318 Fathers at the First Ecumenical Council. Ephraim lived in Nisibis, practicing a severe ascetical life and increasing in holiness, until 363, the year in which Julian the Apostate was slain in his war against the Persians, and his successor Jovian surrendered Nisibis to them. Ephraim then made his dwelling in Edessa, where he found many heresies to do battle with. He waged an especial war against Bardaisan; this gnostic had written many hymns propagating his errors, which by their sweet melodies became popular and enticed souls away from the truth. Saint Ephraim, having received from God a singular gift of eloquence, turned Bardaisan's own weapon against him, and wrote a multitude of hymns to be chanted by choirs of women, which set forth the true doctrines, refuted heretical error, and praised the contests of the Martyrs.
Of the multitude of sermons, commentaries, and hymns that Saint Ephraim wrote, many were translated into Greek in his own lifetime. Sozomen says that Ephraim "Surpassed the most approved writers of Greece," observing that the Greek writings, when translated into other tongues, lose most of their original beauty, but Ephraim's works "are no less admired when read in Greek than when read in Syriac" (Eccl. Hist., Book 111, 16). Saint Ephraim was ordained deacon, some say by Saint Basil the Great, whom Sozomen said "was a great admirer of Ephraim, and was astonished at his erudition." Saint Ephraim was the first to make the poetic expression of hymnody and song a vehicle of Orthodox theological teachings, constituting it an integral part of the Church's worship; he may rightly be called the first and greatest hymnographer of the Church, who set the pattern for these who followed him, especially Saint Romanos the Melodist. Because of this he is called the "Harp of the Holy Spirit." Jerome says that his writings were read in some churches after the reading of the Scriptures, and adds that once he read a Greek translation of one of Ephraim's works, "and recognized, even in translation, the incisive power of his lofty genius" (De vir. ill., ch. CXV).
Shortly before the end of his life, a famine broke out in Edessa, and Saint Ephraim left his cell to rebuke the rich for not sharing their goods with the poor. The rich answered that they knew no one to whom they could entrust their goods. Ephraim asked them, "What do you think of me?" When they confessed their reverence for him, he offered to distribute their alms, to which they agreed. He himself cared with his own hands for many of the sick from the famine, and so crowned his life with mercy and love for neighbor. Saint Ephraim reposed in peace, according to some in the year 373, according to others, 379.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Ταίς τών δακρύων σου ροαίς, τής ερήμου τό άγονον εγεώργησας, καί τοίς εκ βάθους στεναγμοίς, εις εκατόν τούς πόνους εκαρποφόρησας, καί γέγονας φωστήρ, τή οικουμένη λάμπων τοίς θαύμασι, Εφραίμ Πατήρ ημών, Όσιε, Πρέσβευε Χριστώ τώ Θεώ, σωθήναι τάς ψυχάς ημών.
With the streams of thy tears, thou didst cultivate the barrenness of the desert; and by thy sighings from the depths,thou didst bear fruit a hundredfold in labours; and thou becamest a luminary, shining with miracles upon the world, O Ephraim our righteous Father. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Τὴν ὥραν ἀεί, προβλέπων τῆς ἐτάσεως, ἐθρήνεις πικρῶς, Ἐφραὶμ ὡς φιλήσυχος, πρακτικὸς δὲ γέγονας, ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις διδάσκαλος Ὅσιε. Ὅθεν Πάτερ παγκόσμιε, ῥαθύμους ἐγείρεις πρὸς μετανοιαν.
At all times didst thou foresee the hour of reckoning, and pricked in thy heart, thou ever didst lament with tears; and, O righteous Ephraim, thou wast a mighty teacher in works and deeds. Hence, O Father for all the world, thou didst rouse the slothful unto change of heart.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone
He that thundered on Sinai with saving laws for man hath also given thy writings as guides in prayer unto monks, O revealer of unfathomable mysteries; for having gone up in the mount of the vision of the Lord, thou wast shown the many mansions. Wherefore, O God-bearing Isaac, entreat the Saviour for all praising thee.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As an ascetic and God-bearer great in righteousness and an instructor of monastics do we honour thee, thou revealer of things sacred, and our protector. But, O Isaac, since thou hast great boldness with the Lord, intercede with Him for all of us who sing thy praise and who cry to thee: Rejoice, O Father most wise in God.
Σήμερα η Εκκλησία τιμά την μνήμη του αγίου Εφραίμ του Σύρου. Ο άγιος Εφραίμ είν' ένας από τους πιο πνευματικούς ανθρώπους της μοναχικής πολιτείας, πολυμαθής, ενάρετος, περίφημος συγγραφεύς και υμνογράφος της Εκκλησίας. Τα έργα του, είναι γλυκύτατα αναγνώσματα των μοναχών και των ευσεβών χριστιανών. Στο ιερό πρόσωπο του αγίου Εφραίμ του Σύρου βρίσκει πλήρη δικαίωση ο άγαμος και μοναχικός βίος, σαν μια αγία εξαίρεση στη ζωή και σαν ολοκληρωτική δόση του ανθρώπου προς τον Θεό· σαν ζωντανή και λογική θυσία, από την οποία ξεχύνεται το μύρο αγιότητος και η ευωδία της αιωνίου ζωής. Αγγελικός είναι ο βίος του αληθινού μοναχού, γιατί, καθώς λέγει ο Μέγας Βασίλειος, φίλος και θαυμαστής του αγίου Εφραίμ, "ίδιον τούτο της αγγελικής εστι φύσεως, το απηλλάχθαι της γαμικής συζυγίας, μηδε προς άλλο τι κάλλος μετεωρίζε- σθαι, αλλ' εις το θείον πρόσωπον διηνεκώς ατενίζειν".
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἐφραίμ, ὁ Σύρος
Ἀσκητὴς μὲ πολλὴ ἁπλότητα, ἐγκράτεια καὶ ἐνθουσιώδη πίστη. Προικισμένος μὲ πλουσιότατη καὶ φλογερώτατη φαντασία, ἐξασκοῦσε μεγάλη ἐπιῤῥοὴ στοὺς συμπολῖτες του. Ὁ Ἐφραὶμ γεννήθηκε στὶς ἀρχὲς τοῦ 4ου αἰῶνα, στὴ Νισίβη τῆς Συρίας. Διδάσκαλο εὐτύχησε νὰ ἔχει τὸν ἐπίσκοπο Ἰάκωβο, ἄνδρα μεγάλης θεολογικῆς παιδείας, ποὺ τὸν χειροτόνησε διάκονο. Ἀλλ᾿ αὐτὸς παραδίδεται ὁλοκληρωτικὰ στὶς μελέτες του καὶ δὲ θέλησε νὰ προβιβασθεῖ σὲ ἀνώτερο ἀξίωμα. Διότι θεωρεῖ σπουδαιότερο αὐτὸ ποὺ εἶπε ὁ Ἀπόστολος Παῦλος: «Πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος καὶ ὠφέλιμος πρὸς διδασκαλίαν, πρὸς ἐλέγχον, πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν, πρὸς παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, ἵνα ἄρτιος ᾖ ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος». Δηλαδή, ὅλη ἡ Γραφὴ ἔχει ἐμπνευσθεῖ ἀπὸ τὸ Θεό. Γι᾿ αὐτὸ εἶναι ὠφέλιμη νὰ διδάσκει τὴν ἀλήθεια, νὰ ἐλέγχει τὶς πλάνες, νὰ διορθώνει αὐτοὺς ποὺ ἁμαρτάνουν, νὰ παιδαγωγεῖ στὴν ἀρετή, καὶ ἔτσι ὁ ἄνθρωπος τοῦ Θεοῦ νὰ εἶναι τέλειος, καταρτισμένος σὲ κάθε ἔργο ἀγαθό. Ἔτσι, μ᾿ αὐτὸ τὸν τρόπο ὁ Ἐφραὶμ ἀπέκτησε ξεχωριστὴ θέση στὴν ἐκκλησιαστικὴ κίνηση τοῦ ἔθνους του. Ἦταν ὁ περίφημος ῥήτορας, ὁ βαθὺς καὶ φλογερὸς συγγραφέας. Ὀνομάστηκε προφήτης τῶν Σύρων, στῦλος τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας, στόμα καὶ κιθάρα τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος. Ὁ Ἐφραὶμ πέθανε τὸ 379 (κατ᾿ ἄλλους τὸ 373 στὴν Ἔδεσσα τῆς Συρίας) ἀφοῦ ἄφησε μεγάλο συγγραφικὸ ἔργο.

Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἰσαάκ, ὁ Σύρος
Ἐπίσκοπος Νινευί (+ 6ος αἰ.).

Ὁ Ὅσιος Παλλάδιος
Μέγας ἀσκητὴς ὁ Παλλάδιος, ἔκτισε ἕνα μικρὸ κελὶ σ᾿ ἕνα βουνὸ ποὺ ὀνομαζόταν Ἴμμαι (ἢ Ἤμμη). Ἐκεῖ, μὲ πολλὴ ἀγρυπνία, νηστεία καὶ συνεχῆ προσευχή, ἀξιώθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν Θεὸ νὰ θαυματουργεῖ. Κάποτε μάλιστα, βρέθηκε μπροστὰ στὴν πόρτα του κάποιος ἔμπορος σφαγμένος, ποὺ τὸν εἶχε σφάξει καὶ ληστέψει κάποιος λῃστής. Τότε ὅλοι καταδίκασαν τὸν Παλλάδιο, σὰν φονιὰ τοῦ ἐμπόρου. Ὁ Παλλάδιος, ὅμως, προσευχήθηκε καὶ ἀνέστησε τὸν ἔμπορο ποὺ ἀμέσως ἔδειξε τὸν ἀληθινὸ φονιά, ποὺ ἦταν μάλιστα ἀνάμεσα σ᾿ αὐτοὺς ποὺ κατηγοροῦσαν τὸν Παλλάδιο. Τὸ θαῦμα αὐτὸ ἔκανε ν᾿ ἀποκτήσει ὁ Παλλάδιος φήμη ἁγίου ἀνδρὸς σ᾿ ὅλα τὰ περίχωρα. Ἔτσι λοιπόν, θεοσεβῶς, ἀφοῦ ἔζησε ὁ Παλλάδιος, εἰρηνικὰ τελείωσε τὴν ἐπίγεια ζωή του. (Κατὰ τὸν Παρισινὸ Κώδικα 259, καθὼς καὶ σὲ ὁρισμένους Λαυριωτικούς, ἡ μνήμη του φέρεται καὶ κατὰ τὴν 27η Νοεμβρίου).

Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἰάκωβος ὁ Ἀσκητὴς
Ὁ Ὅσιος Ἰάκωβος ἐγκατέλειψε τὸν κόσμο καὶ παρέμεινε γιὰ 20 χρόνια κλεισμένος μέσα σὲ μία σπηλιὰ κοντὰ στὴν κωμόπολη Πορφυριανή, αὐστηρὰ ἀσκούμενος. Στὸ διάστημα αὐτό, προσῆλθε στὸν ὅσιο μία πόρνη καὶ τὸν βίαζε νὰ ἁμαρτήσει μαζί της. Ὁ Ὅσιος με διακριτικὸ τρόπο τῆς ὑπενθύμισε τὴν μέλλουσα κρίση καὶ ἔτσι κατόρθωσε νὰ τὴν ἐπαναφέρει στὸ δρόμο τῆς θεογνωσίας. Κάποτε ὅμως θεράπευσε ἀπὸ τὸ δαιμόνιο μία νεαρὴ κόρη καὶ ὁ πατέρας της τὴν ἄφησε κοντά του γιὰ νὰ μὴ ἐπανέλθει ἡ ἀῤῥώστια. Τότε ὁ ἀσκητὴς ἡττήθηκε. Διέφθειρε τὴ νεαρὴ κόρη καὶ κατόπιν τὴν σκότωσε μὲ τὸν ἀδελφό της. Τὰ πτώματά τους τὰ ἔριξε στὸ ποτάμι. Ἡ συνείδησή του ὅμως τὸν ταρακούνησε καὶ συναισθάνθηκε τὸ ἀνοσιούργημά του. Τότε κλείστηκε μέσα σ᾿ ἕναν τάφο, ὅπου ἔκλαιγε καὶ προσευχόταν νυχθημερὸν καὶ ἔχυνε δάκρυα μετανοίας. Ὁ Θεὸς γιὰ νὰ δείξει στὸν Ἰάκωβο ὅτι τὸν συγχώρεσε γιὰ τὴν πραγματική του μετάνοια, φάνηκε στὸ ὄνειρο τοῦ ἐπισκόπου τῆς περιοχῆς καὶ τοῦ εἶπε νὰ πάει νὰ παρακαλέσει τὸν Ἰάκωβο νὰ προσευχηθεῖ γιὰ νὰ βρέξει, διότι ὁ τόπος εἶχε μεγάλη ἀνομβρία. Πρᾶγμα ποὺ ἔγινε. Αὐτὸ ἐνθάῤῥυνε τὸν Ἰάκωβο καὶ ἐντονότερα ἀσκούμενος ἀπεβίωσε εἰρηνικά.

Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀθανάσιος ὁ Πάριος
Ἐπιφανὴς θεολόγος καὶ μέγας διδάσκαλος τοῦ Γένους, ἀπὸ τοὺς πολυγραφότερους καὶ σπουδαιότερους συγγραφεῖς τῆς ἐποχῆς του. Γεννήθηκε στὸ Κῶστο τῆς Πάρου τὸ 1721/2 καὶ πέθανε στὰ Ῥευστὰ Χίου τὸ 1813. Τὴν πρώτη παιδεία ἔλαβε στὴ γενέτειρά του καὶ συνέχισε στὴ Σμύρνη κοντὰ στὸν Ἱερόθεο Δενδρινὸ καὶ τὸν ἰατροφιλόσοφο Χριστόδουλο. Τὸ 1752 ἀναχώρησε γιὰ τὸ Ἅγιον Ὄρος καὶ γράφτηκε στὴν περιώνυμη Ἀθωνιάδα Σχολή, ποὺ διηύθυνε ὁ Νεόφυτος Καυσοκαλυβίτης καὶ ἀργότερα ὁ Εὐγένιος Βούλγαρης. Μαθήματα ἄκουσε ἀργότερα στὴν Κέρκυρα καὶ ἀπὸ τὸν Νικηφόρο Θεοτόκη. Μὲ παράκληση τοῦ Παν. Παλαμᾶ ἦρθε στὸ Μεσολόγγι, ἀλλὰ μετακλήθηκε στὴ Θεσσαλονίκη γιὰ νὰ διδάξει (1767-1770). Ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀθωνιάδα Σχολή, ὅπου κλήθηκε γιὰ νὰ διδάξει, ἀναγκάστηκε νὰ ἀποχωρήσει ἐξαιτίας τῆς ἀναμίξεώς του στὶς ἔριδες τῶν Κολλυβάδων. Ἔφτασε στὴ Θεσσαλονίκη καὶ ἀνέλαβε τὴν διεύθυνση τῆς ἐκεῖ Σχολῆς μέχρι τὸ 1786. Ἐπιθυμῶντας νὰ ἐπιστρέψει στὴν Πάρο, ἀναχώρησε στὰ τέλη τοῦ 1786 ἀπὸ τὴ Θεσσαλονίκη, ἀλλὰ τελικὰ βρέθηκε στὴ Χῖο. Διευθυντὴς τῆς Σχολῆς τῆς Χίου κατόρθωσε νὰ τὴν διευρύνει καὶ νὰ τὴν ὁδηγήσει σὲ μεγάλη ἀκμὴ (1788-1811). Σὲ ἡλικία 90 περίπου χρόνων ἀποσύρθηκε στὸ μονίδριο τοῦ Ἁγίου Γεωργίου Ῥευστῶν, ὅπου πέθανε στὶς 24 Ἰουνίου 1813.
Ὁ Ἀθανάσιος ἀνήκει στὴ μεγάλη χορεία τῶν διδασκάλων τοῦ Γένους ποὺ μὲ ὅλη τους τὴν δύναμη ἐργάστηκαν ἀκαταπόνητα γιὰ τὴν μόρφωσή του. Πρέπει ὅμως νὰ σημειωθεῖ ἐδῶ ὅτι ὁ Πάριος διδάσκαλος ἦταν πολέμιος τῶν νέων ἰδεῶν τοῦ Διαφωτισμοῦ καὶ τῆς Γαλλικῆς ἐπαναστάσεως, σὲ τέτοιο μάλιστα βαθμό, ὥστε νὰ ξεσηκώσει τὴ σφροδρότατη διαμαρτυρία τοῦ Κοραῆ.
Τὸ συγγραφικὸ ἔργο τοῦ Ἀθανασίου καλύπτει εὐρύτατο χῶρο τῆς θεολογικῆς καὶ τῆς θύραθεν ἐπιστήμης. Τὰ ἔργα του, ἐκδοθέντα καὶ ἀνέκδοτα, θὰ μποροῦσαν νὰ καταταγοῦν στὶς παρακάτω γενικὲς κατηγορίες: Ἀπολογητικά, Ἱστορικοδογματικά, Λειτουργικά, Ὑμνολογικά, Φιλοσοφικά, Παιδαγωγικά, Ποιητικά, Βιογραφίες, Ὁμιλίες, Λόγοι, Ἐπιστολὲς κ.ἄ. Ἀπὸ τὰ πιὸ σπουδαία εἶναι τὰ παρακάτω: Ἀντιπάπας (1785)· ἐξυμνεῖ τὸ ἔργο τοῦ Μάρκου Εὐγενικοῦ καὶ κατακρίνει τὶς καινοτομίες τῶν Λατίνων, Χριστιανικὴ ἀπολογία (1798) καταπολεμᾷ τὶς ἀρχὲς τῆς Γαλλικῆς ἐπαναστάσεως καὶ γράφτηκε μὲ ἀξίωση τοῦ Γρηγορίου Ε´. Μεταφράστηκε στὴ Ῥουμανική. Ἀλεξίκακον φάρμακον ἤτοι πνευματικὸν ἐγχειρίδιον, γράφτηκε ἐναντίον τῶν ἰδεῶν τοῦ Βολταίρου, Πατρικὴ διδασκαλία (1798), ἐκδόθηκε ἀπὸ τὸν Ἄνθιμο Ἱεροσολύμων. Προκάλεσε τὴν σφοδρότατη διαμαρτυρία τοῦ Κοραῆ, ποὺ ἀπάντησε μὲ τὸ ἔργο Ἀδελφικὴ διδασκαλία (1798), «Ἀντιφώνησις πρὸς τὸν παράλογον ζῆλον τῶν ἀπὸ Εὐρώπης ἐρχομένων φιλοσόφων, δεικνύουσα ὅτι μάταιος καὶ ἀνόητος εἶναι ὁ ταλανισμὸς ὅπου κάμνουσι τοῦ Γένους μας καὶ ἡ διδάσκουσα ὁποία εἶναι ἡ ὄντως καὶ ἀληθινὴ φιλοσοφία...», ποὺ ἐκδόθηκε τὸ 1802 μὲ τὸ ψευδώνυμο Ναθαναὴλ Νεοκαισαρεύς. Ἄλλα ἔργα τοῦ Ἀθανασίου εἶναι: Ἐπιτομὴ γραμματικῆς τοῦ κυροῦ Νεοφύτου ἐκείνου (1787), Ῥητορικὴ πραγματεία, Στοιχεῖα μεταφυσικῆς.

Οἱ Ἁγίες Μητέρα καὶ Θυγατέρα
Μαρτύρησαν διὰ ξίφους.

Ἡ Ἁγία Χάρις
Μαρτύρησε ἀφοῦ τῆς ἔκοψαν τὰ πόδια.
Today we commemorate two shining stars of the life of prayer and stillness, both of them Syrians.
Our Holy Father Ephraim the Syrian (373)
He is often called "The Harp of the Holy Spirit" for the sublimity of his writings. He was born in Nisibis of Mesopotamia about the year 306. He embraced the Christian faith while young and for this was driven from his home by his father, a pagan priest. He came under the care of St James of Nisibis (January 13), who was one of the bishops at the Council of Nicaea. He took up a strictly ascetical life, renouncing all possessions and denying himself all comforts. It is said that his eyes constantly flowed with tears: tears of compunction for his own sins, or tears of joy as he contemplated the wonders of God's grace.
He was baptized at the age of twenty and withdrew to the desert, then settled in Edessa. Once, as he was walking to the city, a harlot approached him. Pretending to accept her proposition, he took her to the city's public square and suggested that they lie together there, in plain view. Horrified, the woman rebuked him, saying 'Have you no shame?' The Saint answered, 'Poor woman, you are afraid of being watched by other people; buy why are you not afraid of being seen by God, who sees everything and, on the last day, will judge all our actions and most secret thoughts?' The woman repented and, with the Saint's help, embarked upon a new life.
The Saint returned to the desert for a time, then to Nisibis to aid the Persian Christians, persecuted because they were seen as allies of the Romans. When Nisibis finally fell under Persian rule, St Ephraim and his spiritual father St James both settled in Edessa. At that time Edessa was troubled by the gnostic heretic Bardaisan, one of whose devices was to compose attractive hymns, which became popular and enticed many away from the truth. Taking up Bardaisan's own weapons, St Ephraim composed a number of hymns, beautiful in word and melody, which poetically set forth the true Faith.
Hearing of the sanctity of St Basil the Great, St Ephraim traveled to Cappadocia to meet him. It is recorded that at their first meeting, St Basil greeted him: 'Art thou the Ephraim who hath beautifully bended his neck and taken upon himself the yoke of the saving Word?'; to which St Ephraim replied, 'I am Ephraim who hinder myself from traveling the way to heaven.' After discoursing with the Syrian Saint for some time, St Basil cried out 'O, if only I had thy sins!' Basil then ordained St Ephraim to the diaconate. He would have ordained him a priest but St Ephraim, feeling unworthy, refused to be ordained, then and for the rest of his life.
The Saint returned to a life of solitude; but when a famine broke out in Edessa in 372, he came forth to rebuke the wealthy for failing to share their wealth with the poor. Some replied that they knew no one whom they could trust with their goods, so St Ephraim persuaded them to give their alms to him for distribution to the poor. A true deacon, he cared for the sick with his own hands. The following year, he reposed in peace.
St Ephraim was the first to use hymnody and song to express the teaching of the Church, and so might be called the Church's first hymnographer. His works were probably an inspiration to St Romanos the Melodist, also a Syrian. He is said to have written more than three million lines of verse in Syriac, in addition to many homilies and treatises. Only a fraction of his work has been translated.
A beautiful selection of St Ephraim's writings can be found in A Spiritual Psalter, a collection edited by St Theophan the Recluse, available in English.

Our Holy Father Isaac the Syrian, bishop of Nineveh (7th c.)
He was born early inthe seventh century in the East. His birthplace is unclear: the Great Horologion says that he was born in eastern Arabia (present-day Qatar); the Synaxarion that he was born in Kurdistan. While still young he entered the Lavra of St Matthew with his brother, but after a few years of monastic life, having advanced far in obedience and the practice of prayer, he withdrew into the desert. His reputation for holiness reached the city of Nineveh, where the people prevailed on the hierarchy to consecrate him as their bishop in 670. Reluctantly but obediently, St Isaac took up the duties of shepherd of his flock in Nineveh. After a few months, he was called on to settle a dispute between two of the faithful, but they rejected his counsel and said 'Leave your Gospel out of this matter!' The holy bishop said, 'If they are not prepared to obey Our Lord's commandments, what need have they of me?', and retired to live as a hermit in the mountains of Kurdistan. Later, he settled in the monastery of Raban Shapur, where he wrote his Ascetical Homilies and other jewel-like works on the spiritual life. There he reposed in peace.
The fame of St Isaac' Homilies spread, and about one hundred years after their writing they were translated from Syriac into Greek by two monks in Palestine. In this form they spread throughout the monastic world, becoming a treasured guide to those who seek the fullness of the life of prayer. The Synaxarion says, "The book of Saint Isaac is, with the Ladder of Saint John Climacus, the indispensible guide for every Orthdox soul to journey safely toward God. Hence, not many years ago, a holy spiritual father, Jerome of Egina (d. 1966), recommended begging, if necessary, in order to be able to purchase a copy." We are blessed to have a good translation of the Ascetical Homilies available in English.
Saint Isaac is a very unusual case of an Orthodox Saint who lived outside the canonical boundaries of the Church: he was a bishop of the "Nestorian" communion, now sometimes called the "Oriental Orthodox." The purity of his own Orthodox faith is so clearly evident in his writings that the Church has nonetheless recognized his sanctity.

Menologion 3.0
The Monk Ephrem the Syrian, a teacher of repentance, was born at the beginning of the IV Century (his precise year of birth is unknown) in the city of Ninevah (Mesopotamia) into the family of impoverished toilers of the soil. His parents raised their son in piety. But from the time of his childhood he was known for his quick temper and irascible character, and in his youth he often had fights, he acted thoughtlessly, and even doubted of God's Providence, until he finally recovered his senses from the Lord's doing, guiding him on the path of repentance and salvation. One time he was unjustly accused of the theft of a sheep and was thrown into prison. And there in a dream he heard a voice, calling him to repentance and rectifying his life. After this, he was acquitted of the charges and set free.
Within Ephrem there took place a deep repentance. The youth withdrew outside the city and became an hermit. This form of Christian asceticism had been introduced at Ninevah by a disciple of the Monk Anthony the Great, -- the Egyptian Wilderness-Dweller Eugenios (Eugene).
Among the hermits especially prominent was the noted ascetic, a preacher of Christianity and denouncer of the Arians, the bishop of the Ninevah Church, Saint James (Comm. 13 January). The Monk Ephrem became one of his disciples. Under the graced guidance of the holy hierarch, the Monk Ephrem attained to Christian meekness, humility, submission to the Will of God, and the strength without murmur to undergo various temptations. Saint James knew the high qualities of his student and he used them for the good of the Ninevah Church -- he entrusted him to read sermons, to instruct children in the school, and he took Ephrem along with him to the First OEcumenical Council at Nicea (in the year 325). The Monk Ephrem was in obedience to Saint James for 14 years, until the bishop's death.
After the capture of Ninevah by the Persians in the year 363, the Monk Ephrem abandoned the wilderness and settled in a monastery near the city of Edessa. Here he saw many a great ascetic, passing their lives in prayer and psalmody. Their caves were solitary shelters, and they fed themselves off a certain plant. He became especially close with the ascetic Julian (Comm. 18 October), who was one with him in a spirit of repentance. The Monk Ephrem combined with his ascetic works an incessant study of the Word of God, gathering within it for his soul both solace and wisdom. The Lord gave him a gift of teaching, and people began to come to him, wanting to hear his guidances, which produced a particular effect upon the soul, since he began with self-accusation. The monk both verbally and in writing instructed everyone in repentance, faith and piety, and he denounced the Arian heresy, which during those times was disrupting Christian society. And pagans likewise, listening to the preaching of the monk, were converted to Christianity.
He also toiled no little at the interpretation of Holy Scripture -- with an explication of the Pentateuch (i.e. "Five Books") of Moses. He wrote many a prayer and church-song, thereby enriching the Church's Divine-services. Famed prayers of Saint Ephrem are to the MostHoly Trinity, to the Son of God, and to the MostHoly Mother of God. He wrote for his Church song for the Twelve Great Feastdays of the Lord (the Nativity of Christ, the Baptism, the Resurrection), and funereal song. Saint Emphrem's Prayer of Repentance, "O Lord and Master of my life...", is said during Great Lent, and it summons Christians to spiritual renewal. The Church since times ancient valued highly the works of the Monk Ephrem: his works were read in certain churches, at gatherings of the faithful, after the Holy Scripture. And now at present in accord with the Church Ustav (Rule), certain of his instructions are prescribed to be read on the days of Lent. Amidst the prophets, Saint David is pre-eminently the psalmodist; amidst the holy fathers of the Church the Monk Ephrem the Syrian -- is pre-eminently a man of prayer. His spiritual experience made him a guide to monks and an help to the pastors of Edessa. The Monk Ephrem wrote in Syrian, but his works were very early translated into the Greek and Armenian languages, and from the Greek -- into the Latin and Slavonic languages.
In numerous of the works of the Monk Ephrem are encountered glimpses of the life of the Syrian ascetics, the centre of which involved prayer and with it thereupon the toiling for the common good of the brethren, in the obediences. The outlook of the meaning of life among all the Syrian ascetics was the same. The end purpose of their efforts was considered by the monks to be communality with God and the diffusion of Divine grace within the soul of the ascetic; the present life for them was a time of tears, fasting and toil.
"If the Son of God be within thee, then also His Kingdom is within thee. Here then is the Kingdom of God -- within thee, a sinner. Go inwards into thine self, search diligently and without toil thou shalt find it. Outside of thee -- is death, and the door to it -- is sin. Go inwards into thine self, dwell within thine heart, for since there -- is God". Constant spiritual sobriety, the developing of good within the soul of man gives unto him the possibility to take upon himself a task like blessedness, and a self-constraint like sanctity. The requital is presupposed in the earthly life of man, it is an undertaking by degrees of its spiritual perfection. Whoso grows himself wings upon the earth, says the Monk Ephrem, is one who soars up into the heights; whoso down here purifies his mind -- there glimpses the Glory of God; in what measure each one loveth God -- is that measure wherein is satiated to fullness by the love of God. Man, cleansing himself and attaining the grace of the Holy Spirit while still here, down upon the earth, has a foretaste therein of the Kingdom of Heaven. To attain to life eternal, in the teachings of the Monk Ephrem, does not mean to pass over from one sphere of being into another, but means rather to discover "the Heavenly" spiritual condition of being. Eternal life is not bestown man as a one-sided working by God, but rather like a seed, it constantly grows within him through effort, toil and struggle.
The pledge within us of "theosis" ("obozhenie" or "deification") -- is the Baptism of Christ, and the primal propulsion for the Christian life -- is repentance. The Monk Ephrem was a great teacher of repentance. The forgiveness of sins in the sacramental-mystery of Repentance, according to his teaching, is not an external exoneration, not a forgetting of the sins, but rather their complete undoing, their annihilation. The tears of repentance wash away and burn away the sin. And moreover -- they (i.e. the tears) vivify, they transfigure sinful nature, they give the strength "to walk in the way of the commandments of the Lord", encouraging the hope on God. In the fiery font of Repentance, wrote the Monk, "thou dost sail thyself across, O sinner, thou dost resuscitate thyself from the dead".
The Monk Ephrem, in his humility reckoning himself the least and worst of all, at the end of his life set out to Egypt, to see the efforts of the great ascetics. He was accepted there as a welcome guest and received for himself great solace in his associating with them. On the return journey he visited at Caesarea Cappadocia with Sainted Basil the Great (Comm. 1 January), who wanted to ordain him a priest, but the monk considered himself unworthy of priesthood, and at the insistence of Saint Basil, he accepted only the dignity of deacon, in which he remained until death. Even later on, Saint Basil the Great invited the Monk Ephrem to accept the cathedra-chair of a bishop, but the saint feigned folly to avoid for himself this honour, in humility reckoning himself unworthy of it.
Upon his return to his own Edessa wilderness, the Monk Ephrem intended to spend the rest of his life in solitude. But Divine Providence again summoned him to service of neighbour. The inhabitants of Edessa were suffering from a devastating famine. By the influence of his word, the monk induced the wealthy to render aid to those that lacked. From the offerings of believers he built a poor-house for the destitute and sick. The Monk Ephrem then withdrew to a cave nigh to Edessa, where he remained to the end of his days.

The Monk Theodosii (Feodosii) Sumorin of Totemsk was born at Vologda in about the year 1530. In his youth he was raised in a spirit of Christian piety and the fear of God. At the insistence of his parents he married, but family life did not sway him away from God. He went fervently to church and prayed much at home, particularly at night. After the death of both his parents and his spouse, he withdrew to the Prilutsk monastery not far from Vologda. At the monastery Theodosii passed through the various obediences: he carried water, chopped fire-wood, milled flour and baked bread. Having set out on business entrusted him by the hegumen to go to Tot'ma to search out a salt-works for the monastery, he sought the permission of tsar Ivan Vasilevich and the blessing of archbishop Nikandr to found at Tot'ma a monastery. Theodosii was appointed head of this newly-formed Totemsk monastery, which in the grammota-grant of 1554 was declared free of taxation. The monk therefore founded the Totemsk Ephremov wilderness monastery and brought brethren into it. And eventually the head of two monasteries, Theodosii continued to lead an ascetic life: he wore down his body with chains and hairshirt, and beneathe the schemamonk cowl he wore an iron cap. Fond of spiritual reading, he located for the monastery many a book. The monk reposed in the year 1568 and was buried in the monastery founded by him. At his grave miracles occurred. On 2 September 1796 at the time of a reconstruction of the Ascension church his relics were found undecayed, and their glorification was made on 28 January 1798, on the day of his repose.

The Monk Ephrem of Novotorzhsk, founder of the Borisoglebsk monastery in the city of Torzhok, was a native of Hungary. Together with his brothers, Saint Moses (Moisei) the Hungarian (Comm. 26 July) and Saint George (Slavic "Georgii"/"Yuri", or in Hungarian "Sandor" pronounced "Shandor"), he quit his native land, possibly for reasons of being Orthodox. Having come to Rus', all three brothers entered into the service of the Rostov prince Saint Boris, son of the Equal-to-the-Apostles Saint Vladimir. Saint Ephrem's brother George also perished in the year 1015 at the River Al'ta, together with holy Prince Boris. The murderers cut off his head, to take the gold medallion which hung upon his neck. Moisei (Moses) managed to save himself by flight, and became a monk at the Kievo-Pechersk monastery. Saint Ephrem, evidently at this time at Rostov, and arriving at the place of the murder, found the head of his brother and took it with him. Forsaking service at the princely court, Saint Ephrem withdrew to the River Tvertsa so as to lead there a solitary monastic life. After several others settled alongside him to monasticise, in the year 1038 he founded a monastery in honour of the holy princely "Passion-Bearers" ("Strastoterptsi") Boris and Gleb. The brethren chose him to head them. Near the monastery, situated not off afar from a merchant's road to Novgorod, a wanderer's home was built, where for free stayed the poor and wanderers. The Monk Ephrem died in old age. His body was buried at the monastery founded by him, and in the grave, in accord with his last wishes, was placed the head of his brother, Saint George. The relics of the Monk Ephrem were uncovered in the year 1572.

The Monk Ephrem of Pechersk, Bishop of Pereslavsk, before his tonsure into monasticism, was treasurer and manager of household affairs at the court of the Kiev Greatprince Izyaslav (Dimitrii) Yaroslavich (1054-1068). Weighed down by his noisy and bustling life and wanting to accept monasticism, he received the blessing of Saint Antonii of Pechersk and was monasticised by the hegumen Nikon. The enraged prince demanded that Ephrem return, threatening to lock him up in prison and to destroy the monastery caves. The Monk Antonii emerged with the brethren from the monastery and decided to go to another place. Izyaslav then however feared the wrath of God, he took the advice of his wife and in disgrace withdrew his forces from the monastery. The holy Monk Ephrem was however compelled to leave. He journeyed to Constantinople and settled there in one of the monasteries. Being at Constantinople, Saint Ephrem made a copy of the Studite monastic-rule (ustav), and dispatched it to Kiev at the request of the Monk Theodosii. Receiving the ustav, the Monk Theodosii implemented it in his monastery. After the year 1072 Ephrem was made bishop in Pereslavl', and had the title of metropolitan. He adorned Pereslavl' with many beautiful churches and public edifices, and in the Greek manner he erected stone walls around the city. He built free hospices for the poor and wanderers, and constructed several public bath-houses. In the year 1091 Saint Ephrem participated in the opening and solemn transfer of the relics of the Monk Theodosii. It is known, that in former times there existed a vita (life) of the Monk Ephrem, which has not survived down to the present. We find an account about him both in the vita of the Monk Theodosii, and in the Russian Chronicles. To Saint Ephrem is ascribed a tale and laudation of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker. Saint Ephrem died in the year 1098. He was buried in the Antoniev Caves of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery. His memory is celebrated also both on 28 September and on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent.

The Monk Palladios the Wilderness Dweller asceticised in a certain mountain cave near Syrian Antioch. For his ascetic life, he received from the Lord a gift of wonderworking. One time near his cave was found a merchant murdered by robbers. People accused Saint Palladios of the murder, but through the prayer of the saint, the dead man rose up and named his murderers. The monk died at the end of the IV Century, leaving behind him several edifying works.

The Monk Isaac the Syrian, Bishop of Ninevah, lived during the VII Century. Together with his brother he entered the monastery of Mar Matthew. His learning and lofty ascetic manner of life gained the notice of the brethren, and they proposed that he head the monastery. The Monk Issac, not wanting this and instead yearning for silence, withdrew from the monastery to an hermitage. His brother more than once urged him to return to the monastery, but the monk would not agree. However, when the fame of the holy life of the Monk Isaac had spread all around, he was elevated to the cathedra-chair of bishop of Ninevah. Seeing the crude manners of the inhabitants of the city, the monk sensed that it was beyond his ability to guide them, and moreover, he languished for the quest of the hermit's life. All this was a burden for the holy man, and in resigning as bishop, he withdrew into a skete wilderness monastery. Here he lived until his death, attaining to high spiritual perfection.
After the death of the Monk Isaac of Syria, from the early VIII Century through the beginning XVIII Century, nothing was known about him in Europe except for his name and works. Only in the year 1719 at Rome was there published a biography of the monk, compiled by an anonymous Arab author. In 1896 the account about the Monk Isaac was enlarged upon. The learned French soteriologist Abbot Charbot published the works of the Syrian history of the VIII Century by Iezudena, bishop of Barsa, wherein was located the account about the Monk Isaac the Syrian.

The Sumorin Totemsk Icon of the Mother of God was glorified by numerous healings at the Spaso-Sumorinsk monastery of the city of Tot'ma. When the inhabitants of the city turned to tsar Ivan the Terrible for permission to build a monastery in their city, the Rostov archbishop Nikandr in the year 1554 bestowed upon the Monk Theodosii the grammota-grant for building. The hegumen of the Prilutsk monastery blessed the Monk Theodosii with an icon of the Mother of God for success at building the new monastery. The icon thereafter received the name Sumorinsk-Totemsk ("Sumorinsk" derives from the family name of the Monk Theodosii, and Totemsk from the placename Tot'ma). After the death of the monk, the wonderworking icon was situated in a kiosk-case in front of the crypt of the saint at the Ascension church of the monastery.
It is to be noted, that for many of the sick, the Monk Theodosii has appeared to them holding this icon in his hands.

Ephrem was born in Syria of poor parents during the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great. He spent his young life rather tempestuously; but all at once a change took place in his soul and he began to burn with love for the Lord Jesus. Ephrem was a disciple of St. James Nisibis (January 13). From the enormous Grace of God, wisdom flowed from his tongue as a brook of honey and ceaseless tears flowed from his eyes. Industrious as a bee, Ephrem continually either wrote books or orally taught the monks in the monastery and the people in the town of Edessa or he dedicated himself to prayer and contemplation. Numerous are his books and beautiful are his prayers. The most famous is his prayer recited during the Honorable Fast Season which reads:

Lord and Master of my life, give
me not a spirit of sloth, vain
curiosity, lust for power and idle talk.
But give to me, your servant, a spirit
of soberness, humility, patience and love.
O Lord and King, grant me to see
my own faults and not to condemn
my brother: for blessed are you
to the ages of ages. Amen.

When they wanted to appoint him a bishop by force, he pretended to be insane and began to race through the city of Edessa dragging his garment behind him. Seeing this, the people left him in peace. Ephrem was a contemporary and friend of St. Basil the Great. Saint Ephrem is considered mainly to be the Apostle of Repentance. Even today his works soften many hearts hardened by sin and return them to Christ. He died in extreme old age in the year 378 A.D.

Isaac was born in Nineveh and in his youth lived an ascetical life in the Monastery of Mar [Saint] Matthew in the proximity of Nineveh. When Isaac became known because of the sanctity of his life and of his many miracles, he was elected bishop of Nineveh and was forced to accept that rank. But, after only five months, he left the bishopric and secretly withdrew into the wilderness to the Monastery of Rabban Shabur. He complied many works of which about a hundred homilies on the spiritual life and asceticism, written primarily from his personal experience, have come down to us today. He was unequaled as a psychologist and as a director in the spiritual life. Even such saints as was St. Simeon [the New Stylite] of the Wonderful Mountain near Antioch sought counsel from him. Isaac died in extreme old age toward the end of the seventh century.

Palladius was a great ascetic and miracle-worker. In front of his cell there appeared a corpse of a certain wealthy man whom robbers had killed and looted. When Palladius was brought to court and, in order to be spared from misery, he prayed to God and through prayer resurrected the dead man. He died in the fourth century.

Ephrem died in 1096 A.D. He instituted the Feast of the Translation of the Relics of St. Nicholas to Bari, Italy. This feast is celebrated on May 9.

In Ephrem, the heart burns
Out of love for Christ,
And Ephrem's tongue speaks of
The pure wisdom of the Gospel.
Ephrem, the honey-bearing bee,
Ephrem, the fruit-bearing rain!
With repentance, Ephrem breathes,
With tears, he proclaims repentance.
Ephrem writes: "Repent ye!
For God glorifies penitents!"
O wonderful leader and teacher,
By life and in books,
Ephrem, comforter to the sorrowful,
An awesome whip without cares,
Toward others, honey of mercy,
Toward himself, a sword of austerity.
Of Ephrem, the Church is proud,
The angels call him brother,
This even becomes Ephrem,
This ingratiating theologian,
The Church glorifies its Syrian,
The glorifier of God's Son.
Ephrem, the honey-bearing bee,
Ephrem, the fruit-bearing rain,
Intercessor, day and night,
Ephrem. the all-mighty monk!
Toward himself a sword of austerity,
Toward others, honey of mercy!
The Church glorifies its Syrian,
The glorifier of God's Son.

The absence of envy among the saints is a startling and wonderful phenomenon. Not only did the saints not allow envy to seize their hearts but, with all their might, labored to uplift their companions and to diminish themselves. On one occasion when St. Hilarion of Palestine visited St. Anthony in Egypt, St. Anthony exclaimed: "Welcome Venus, the morning star!" To that St. Hilarion replied: "Greetings and health be to you, the shining pillar who sustains the universe!" When they praised St. Macarius as a monk, the saint replied: "Brethren, forgive me, I am not a monk but, I have seen monks!" When some people told St. Sisoes that he attained the same level of perfection as St. Anthony, Sisoes replied: "If only I had but a single thought as does Anthony, I would be all aflame."

To contemplate the Lord Jesus as a Servant:
1. How He voluntarily descended among men to be a servant to all;
2. How He never refused anyone a good service which was requested of Him;
3. How, even today, as always, He invisibly and silently serves the whole world.

About the Man Whom no one knows
" `Who are you?' Jesus saidto them: `The beginning' "(St. John 8:25).
The Lord Jesus is the beginning of creation, the beginning of restoration, the beginning of salvation, the beginning of resurrection, and the beginning of immortal glory.
Wherever there is any evil in the world that needs to be uprooted, He is the beginning. Without Him, it is impossible. Wherever there is any good that is desired to be done in the world, He is the beginning. Without Him, it is impossible. If anyone desires to uproot dissent and malice in the family, in the village, in the town, in the entire world, without Him, it is impossible. One must begin with Him. If anyone desires to instill good-will, peace, love and unity in the family, in the village, in the town, among the peoples in the entire world, without Him it is impossible. He is the beginning.
Why is it that without Christ, one cannot uproot evil nor sow good? Because all evil is from sin and only He can forgive sins. When He and only He forgives sin, then sin is plucked out by the root. No type of good is possible to be sown without Him because in Him is the treasury of all good; all the seeds of good. He is the only Sower of Good in the field of the world.
The Apostle Paul, who understood all of this better than we, says: " I can do all things through [Jesus] Christ Who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). Without Jesus Christ, who can begin to heal oneself of evil, to heal others from evil and to sow good in oneself and to sow good in others? No one, truly no one.
Therefore, brethren, if we are determined to uproot evil in ourselves and in others and in place of evil to sow good in ourselves and in others, let us begin with the Beginning [Christ]; i.e., let us begin with the Conqueror over evil and the Sower of good; with the Lord Jesus Christ.
O Lord Jesus Christ, You be to us the beginning in every struggle against sin and in every good work.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.