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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center

St Ephrem the Syrian

St Ephrem the Syrian wrote the Prayer of St Ephrem. This prayer is the standard Great Lent prayer.

Feast Day

January 28

Kontakion, Troparion, Exapostilarion, and Vespers Sticheron or Doxastichon

Troparion (TONE 8)
Your abundant tears made the wilderness sprout and bloom, and your suffering made your labors fruitful a hundredfold: you became a shining torch over the world. O Holy Father Ephrem, pray to Christ God that he may save our souls!

Kontakion (TONE 2)
O Holy Ephrem, you constant meditation on the Final Judgement made you shed abundant tears of sorrow, making of your labors examples that we could follow and emulate, and awaking the slothful to repentance. You are indeed a father of high renown.

Prayer

O Lord, Master of my life, grant that I may not be infected with the spirit of slothfulness and acquisitiveness, with the spirit of ambition and vain talking.
(Great Prostration or Great Metany, which is kneeling and touching the forehead to the floor, then standing and making the Sign of the Cross.)
Grant instead to me your servant the spirit of purity and humility, the spirit of patience and neighborly love.
(Great Prostration or Great Metany, which is kneeling and touching the forehead to the floor, then standing and making the Sign of the Cross.) O Lord and King, bestow upon me the grace of being aware of my own sins and of not thinking evil of those of my brothers and sisters.
(Great Prostration or Great Metany, which is kneeling and touching the forehead to the floor, then standing and making the Sign of the Cross.)
For You are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.
O God, be gracious to me a sinner, and have mercy on me.

(12 times, with each time making a small prostration or small Metany, bowing very low, touching the floor with the fingertips of the right hand, then standing and making the Sign of the Cross.)
Yes, O Lord and King, bestow upon me the grace of being aware of my own sins and of not thinking evil of those of my brothers and sisters.
(Great Prostration or Great Metany, which is kneeling and touching the forehead to the floor, then standing and making the Sign of the Cross.)
For You are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

To emphasize the theme of this prayer--changing our lives--we accompany it with
Great Prostration or Great Metany, kneeling and touching the forehead to the floor, then standing and making the Sign of the Cross.
When we pray "O God, be gracious to me a sinner, and have mercy on me" 12 times, we make Small Prostration or Small Metany, bowing very low, touching the floor with the fingertips of the right hand, then standing and making the Sign of the Cross.

The Prayer of St Ephrem is one of the main components of Lenten services in the Byzantine Church. It signifies our awareness of our sins and of temptations, it proclaims our faith in the all-merciful God, and it asks for the gifts and graces we need to lead a holy life. During Lent, it is a good practice to recite the prayer of St Ephrem when you get up in the morning and before you go to bed at night.

Both privately and publicly, the Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian is the characteristic prayer of Great Lent. It reminds us that God is the Master of our lives, and asks God to free us from the sins of everyday life, like pride and gossip and laziness and greed. In it we ask God to give us humility and love of our neighbor, awareness of our own sins, and disinterest in the sins of others. We then pray "O God, be gracious to me a sinner, and have mercy on me" twelve times.

More information

St. Ephraem Catholic Encyclopedia


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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center
Martha Liles
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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center is dedicated to my cousins: Bucky (Richard C. Liles) and Shirley (Shirley Jean Liles Buck). Bucky fell asleep in the Lord on Dec. 12, 2000 and Shirley fell asleep in the Lord on Nov. 8, 2001.
O God of all spirits and of all flesh, who have destroyed death, overcome the devil, and given life to the world: grant, O Lord, to the souls of your servants Bucky and Shirley, who has departed from this life, that it may rest in a place of light, in a place of happiness, in a place of peace, where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing. And since You are a gracious God and the Lover of Mankind, forgive him/her every sin he/she has committed by thought, or word, or deed, for there is not a man who lives and does not sin : You alone are without sin, your righteousness is everlasting, and your word is true. You are the Resurrection and the Life, and the repose of your departed servants Bucky and Shirley. O Christ our God, and we send up glory to You, together with your eternal Father and your all-holy, good and life-givng Spirit, now and always and for ages upon ages. Amen.

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