Why pray to St Ephrem?
For the needs of Syria, we pray to St Ephrem because he was a great theological doctor of the fourth century who understood the tradition of the Church in his native land and the needs of its people, having suffered social injustice himself. Then, when Syria was faced with famine and conflict, he volunteered to distribute food in an equitable way to those who needed it most and to encourage people to share what they had in the interests of the common good. St Ephrem died serving others; in 373AD, he caught the plague while ministering to the sick. His “Hymns to Light” show a deep awareness through their expressions of their love of God for the support our brothers and sisters in Syria need in our own time:
His glory shines upon the world and enlightens the very depths of the abyss.
Death is annihilated, night has vanished, and the gates of Sheol are broken.
Creatures lying in darkness from ancient times are clothed in light.
he brings salvation and grants us life.
When he manifests himself, the saints awaiting him in weariness and sorrow,
will go forth to meet him with lighted lamps.
You might like to use the following prayer to pray for the people of Syria.
Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion,
the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope.
Hear the cries of the people of Syria;
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
and comfort to those mourning the dead.
Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbours
in their care and welcome for refugees.
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace.
O God of hope and Father of mercy,
your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs.
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence
and to seek reconciliation with enemies.
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
- Acknowledgement: The prayer is adapted from Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a collaborative effort of USCCB and Catholic Relief Services.
- Image is in public domain and was found here.