St. Ephraim, Patriarch of Antioch

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8/21 June

Holy Hierarch Ephraim was commander of armed forces under emperors Anastasios (491-518) and Justin (518-527). The saint was noted for his kindness, piety, and sympathy towards the unfortunate.

In 526, the Lord punished Antioch for the deviation of Christians into the heresy of Nestor and Eutychius. An earthquake destroyed this great city, and an enormous number of its residents perished. Patriarch Euphrasius was crushed under a collapsing column.

The emperor sent St. Ephraim to rebuild the demolished city. One of his workers, a bishop who had left the episcopate in order to perform some untold spiritual struggle, prophecied to St. Ephraim that he would be chosen for the partriarchal throne, and asked him not to leave off acts of charity and to battle resolutely against the heretics. In 527, St Ephraim was chosen patriarch. By the example of the manner of his life, he firmly and wisely guided his flock, and by his instructions and encyclicals guarded the flock against heretical teachings.

The following is some indication of the strength of his faith. Near Hierapolis there struggled a pillar-dweller who had fallen into heresy. Learning of the struggler, St. Ephraim came to him and tried to convince him to join the Orthodox Church. The pillar-dweller refused. Deciding to frighten the Patriarch, he proposed building a large bonfire, and offering that both should enter its flames. The Patriarch implored the Lord Jesus Christ to demonstrate who held the true faith. Taking off his omophorion, he put it on the bonfire. Three hours later, the logs had burned down, but the Hierarch’s omophorion was lifted out unharmed. The pillar-dweller renounced his heresy and joined the Church.

Patriarch Ephraim was peacefully presented to God in 545. In his struggles, the holy hierarch Ephraim defended the teachings of the Orthodox Church with respect to the co-existence of two natures, divine and human, in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Address of our Cathedral

  • 4001 17th St. N.W.,
  • Washington, D.C., 20011

Phone  (202) 726-3000




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