Saint Ephraim was born to wealthy parents in Nisibis
(Messopatamia) at the beginning of the fourth century and brought up in the
fear of the Lord. Because of his youthfulness, he was of the opinion that
everything happens by chance, but the following unpleasant happening convinced
him he was wrong. Once, the young Ephraim was accused of stealing sheep, for
which the judge sent him to jail even though he was completely innocent.
Finding himself in the dungeon and lamenting over whatís happened, Ephraim once
saw in a dream how he was being punished for other sins that he truly
committed. After a certain period, the judge found out about his innocence and
released him. Ephraim realized that peoplesí lives were not directed by blind
chance, but by Lord God. After this, Ephraim abandoned the world and withdrew
into the mountains with the recluses, where he became a disciple of Saint James
of Nisibis. Under his guidance, Ephraim changed and became meek, penitent and
committed to God.
James became a bishop and made Ephraim his
assistant. Later, Saint Ephraim went to Edessa and withdrew into the mountains.
Here he committed himself to a strict routine of monastic ordeals and zealously
studied the Word of God. God endowed Saint Ephraim with the gift of teaching
and he became renowned for his inspirational sermons. He labored intensely in
expounding the Holy Scripture and enunciating Orthodox teachings. At the close
of his life, he visited the great Holy Fathers of the Nitria desert (in Egypt)
as well as Caesarea in Cappadocia, where he met Saint Basil the Great. Upon
returning to Edessa, he fell ill and peacefully reposed in the year 373. His
incorruptible remains were moved into a church.
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