Sunday, June 9, 2013


St. Getulius & Companions
Feast: June 10

Feast Day:June 10
Died:120 AD
Major Shrine:Sant'Angelo in Pescheria, Rome
Martyr with Amantius, Caerealis, and Primitivus during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138). He was the husband of St. Symphorosa. An officer in the Roman army, he resigned when he became a Christian and returned to his estates near Tivoli, Italy. There he converted Caerealis, the imperial legate sent to arrest him. With his brother Amantius and with Caerealis and Primitivus, Getulius was tortured and martyred at Tivoli. The significance of the conversion rests in part upon the fact that the emperor himself owned a large and famous estate in the same area, an indication of how the Christian faith had established itself among the ranks of the wealthy patrician class of the empire.

(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)



Vatican Radio REPORT: Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square this Sunday. In his remarks to the gathered faithful, the Holy Father reflected on the mercy of Our Lord, which is the focus of the Church's prayerful attention during the month of June, traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Below, please find Vatican Radio's English translation of the Holy Father's remarks.

Dear brothers and sisters!

The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the highest human expression of divine love. Just this past Friday, in fact, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: the feast that sets the tone for the whole month. Popular piety highly prizes symbols, and the Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God's mercy – but it is not an imaginary symbol, it is a real symbol, which represents the center, the source from which salvation for all humanity gushed forth.

In the Gospels we find several references to the Heart of Jesus, for example, in the passage where Christ says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. (Mt 11:28-29)” Then there is the key story of the death of Christ according to John. This evangelist in fact testifies to what he saw on Calvary: that a soldier, when Jesus was already dead, pierced his side with a spear, and from the wound flowed blood and water (cf. Jn 19.33-34). John recognized in that – apparently random – sign, the fulfillment of prophecies: from the heart of Jesus, the Lamb slain on the cross, flow forgiveness and life for all men.

But the mercy of Jesus is not just sentiment: indeed it is a force that gives life, that raises man up! [This Sunday]’s Gospel tells us this as well, in the episode of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17). Jesus, with his disciples, is just arrived in Nain, a village in Galilee, at the very moment in which a funeral is taking place. a boy is buried, the only son of a widow. Jesus’ gaze immediately fixes itself on the weeping mother. The evangelist Luke says: “Seeing her, the Lord was moved with great compassion for her (v. 13).” This “compassion” is the love of God for man, it is mercy, i.e. the attitude of God in contact with human misery, with our poverty, our suffering, our anguish. The biblical term “compassion” recalls the maternal viscera: a mother, in fact, experiences a reaction all her own, to the pain of her children. In this way does God love us, the Scripture says.

And what is the fruit of this love? It is life! Jesus said to the widow of Nain, “Do not weep,” and then called the dead boy and awoke him as from a sleep (cf. vv. 13-15). The mercy of God gives life to man, it raises him from the dead. The Lord is always watching us with mercy, [always] awaits us with mercy. Let us be not afraid to approach him! He has a merciful heart! If we show our inner wounds, our sins, He always forgives us. He is pure mercy! Let us never forget this: He is pure mercy! Let us go to Jesus!

Let us turn to the Virgin Mary: her immaculate heart – a mother’s heart – has shared the “compassion” of God to the full, especially at the hour of the passion and death of Jesus. May Mary help us to be meek, humble and compassionate with our brethren.

After the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke these words to Pilgrims:

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today in Krakow are proclaimed Blessed two Polish women religious: Zofia Czeska Maciejowska, who, in the first half of the 17th century, founded the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Margaret Lucia Szewczyk, who in the 19th century founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of Sorrows. With the Church in Krakow we give thanks to the Lord!

I affectionately greet all the pilgrims present today: church groups, families, schools, associations, movements.

I greet the faithful from Mumbai, India.

I greet the Family Love Movement of Rome, the confraternities and volunteers of the Sanctuary of Mongiovino, near Perugia, Umbria, the Young Franciscans of Umbria, the "House of Charity" in Lecce, the faithful of the province of Modena, whom I encourage [in their work of] reconstruction [the region was hard-hit by an earthquake in 2012], and those of Ceprano. I greet the pilgrims of Ortona, where we venerate the relics of the Apostle Thomas, who made ​​a journey “from Thomas to Peter”! Thank you!

I wish you all a good Sunday, and a good lunch!



Eucharistic Congress finished with festive fair in Cologne, greeting Pope Francis and sermon by Cardinal Meisner: God is not a private matter, but an open matter that matters above all.
Cologne ( with a festive closing worship the Eucharistic Congress in Cologne ends today. There were several ten thousand participants in the Cathedral City Guest since Wednesday. The Eucharistic Congress was under the motto "Lord, to whom shall we go?" (John 6.68).

The Chairman of the German Bishops ' Conference, Archbishop Dr. Robert Zollitsch, thanked the faithful for their public testimony during the Eucharistic Congress: "We have experienced not only wonderful weather in the past few days, but celebrated above all a great feast of faith."

Christ was in the middle of the people that he was the source of strength for the faith. Specifically, Archbishop Zollitsch was Germany's on the situation of the flood in different parts: "Christ accompanies us not only in the happy hours, he is also with us, when worries press us. We know they are connected to us in this hour particularly with those in the South and East of our country, which are afflicted by the floods and also with all those who assist these people and as rescue workers help."

In his sermon, the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, underlined the importance of the Eucharist: "Nowhere man and our world gets so unlikely value as in the Holy Eucharist." Eucharist is always also the Festival of the people. "Christ committed to us and to our country. Germany is seen despite all - by God - not Godforsaken. Germany is a God-connected country through the Holy Eucharist,"said Cardinal Meisner.

There is no life lost Christ and therefore no world lost God and therefore not a godless world: "who theoretically or practically excludes God in the private and social life, of himself and the people on the meaning of life passes. By the risen Christ is present in the fruit of human work in the Eucharistic bread into it, falls from this faith secret from glamour and dignity on the work of the people. God needs people!"


Christ, as cardinal Meisner, identify with the people. From the body of Christ, the Church of adults. "Our Church is a religious association to enforce religious interests, but the Church is the body of Christ in our country. And the heart center of this church is the Eucharistic Lord."

The papal legate to the Eucharistic Congress, Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, a message from Pope Franziskus read out during the service at the RheinEnergieStadion Cologne. The special order was "that the mass not stunted us to flatter routine; there, so Pope Francis that we increasingly exploit their depth only! It is Yes, that involves us in Christ huge redemption, which sharpens our spiritual eyes of his love." The question, 'Lord, to whom we should go?', imagine some contemporaries, searched for Christ: "You the Savior wants to meet us we were his brothers and sisters through the baptism and the force get in the Eucharistic meal, to go along with his saving mission", so Pope Francis. "We all, bishops, priests and deacons, religious and lay people, have the order to bring God to the world and the world to God. Cornerstones of our faith, which forms the focal point of the Eucharist are meet Christ, rely on Christ, proclaim Christ - that."

 For current information about the Eucharistic Congress, facts and figures, see


Mike Stanley, RIP | Mike Stanley, CJM, Jo Boyce, Yvonne Stanley

Mike Stanley - going home
The much-loved Catholic musician, singer, songwriter and liturgist Mike Stanley who played with Jo Boyce, in CJM has died, after a long illness.
His wife Yvonne has sent this personal message.
Dear friends of CJM,
I wanted to let you know the sad news that Mike died just before 6pm on Thursday 6th June. It was a very peaceful death and I was at his bedside at St Giles Hospice in Lichfield, where Mike was cared for so well for the last few days of his life. The words ‘take me home Father, Spirit and Son…‘ from Song to the Trinity were playing as the Lord called him home.
We have been sustained by so many prayers during Mike’s illness, and have come to know some of the ways in which his music and his wish to share it has made a difference to so many people.
Please continue to remember us in your prayers and at Mass – where Mike always felt most at home.
I’d like to leave the final word to Mike himself, the following paragraph was taken from an interview he gave twenty years ago…
I read a book by Gerald Hughes called ‘God Of Surprises‘. In it he asked the reader, if they were to die, what their epitaph might be. Now, once it would have been something like ‘he entertained a lot of people and put a song in their heart’. But now that’s not enough. I’d like my epitaph to read ‘he communicated the love of God and touched people’s hearts‘.
With love,
Yvonne, Adam, Joseph and Luke Stanley
Jo Boyce wrote on Facebook: 'Goodbye my friend. Thank you for a 20 year adventure of song, faith, music-making... And so much laughter. I will miss you forever.'
For more information see:


USCCB REPORT: A new booklet on “The Blessing of the Child in the Womb” co-authored by the vice president and associate general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is now available from Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. “The Gift of Joy,” by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, and Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, explains the vocation of Christian mothers and fathers and how it relates to parish life and society as a whole.
“The blessing of the child in the womb unites the parish,” write Archbishop Kurtz and Msgr. Bransfield, noting that the blessing can be celebrated in the context of Sunday Mass. They add that the experience of having a child draws new parents deeper into their parish community and their faith as they accept the loving support of others.
“The Gift of Joy” is available online from Our Sunday Visitor: . .
Information on the blessing is available online:
“The Blessing of the Child in the Womb” originated at the request of then-Bishop Kurtz of Knoxville, Tennessee. USCCB’s Committees on Pro-Life Activities and Divine Worship prepared a text, which was approved by the U.S. bishops in November 2008 and sent to Rome for final approval, which it received in 2012. Archbishop Kurtz focused on the blessing in his intervention during the 2012 Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization in Rome.


 Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
6 Jun 2013

John Farey is the winner of the Australian Medical Journal's Dr Eric Dark Award for Creative Writing
Second year student at the University of Notre Dame's Sydney School of Medicine, John Farey has won a hotly-contested national award for a short story he wrote after spending two weeks as a volunteer at a displaced people's camp in Kenya.
Announced this week as the winner the Medical Journal of Australia's 2013 Dr Eric Dark Creative Writing Prize, John's story "Esther" brings the people in the camp vividly to life and finds amongst the poverty, malnutrition and hardship, wonderful moments of joy.
His short story is a celebration of community, solidarity and affirmation of the strength of the human spirit. It is also the story of a little girl called Esther, rescued from a rubbish dump at Nakaru, a city north of Nairobi, who cannot walk without help. The five year old orphan has rickets, an entirely preventable nutritional disease triggered by a lack of Vitamin D and calcium. But despite her difficulty moving and her tiny size, the child in her oversized donated school uniform, blushes shyly at the doctors and the young Australian volunteers, then gives them her widest smile.
"Basically the reason I wrote the story was because I needed an avenue to get my thoughts clear on how I felt about Africa and the time I had spent there. Being at the camp was such a confronting, formative and life-changing experience that I needed a way to crystallise my thoughts on complex issues like poverty, the role of public health and how to help the millions who are starving in Africa or suffering from preventable diseases."

Despite hardship and poverty Kenya's Abecare Ranges Primary School children find joy in laughter and smiles
In one of the most powerful images in his award-winning short story, John writes of the rubbish dump near the displaced people's camp where he volunteered and where he saw "children and pigs fighting over spoilt food on a continent with more starving mouths than there are people in Europe."
 With a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communications from the University of Sydney, John has a journalist's eye for detail matched with a distinctive literary "voice," and with his literary award looks like following in the footsteps along line of well-known writers who trained and practiced as medical doctors. The late best-selling author Michael Crichton graduated from Harvard Medical School. Short story great W. Somerset Maugham was another with a degree in medicine. Thriller writer, Tess Geritsen is another as is A.J. Cronin, the British creator of Dr Finlay and author of the classic, Keys of the Kingdom, who managed to combine his work as a doctor with a successful literary career.
John loves writing and would one day love to spend a weekend or longer at Varuna, the writers' retreat in Katoomba and former home of Dr Eric Dark, a GP and public health activist and his wife, the acclaimed Australian writer Eleanor Dark. 
But John is quick to insist that although he loves to write, his passion is medicine.

Kenya's Nakuru Displaced Person's Camp is home to 6000 men, women and children
The realisation medicine was the career he wished to pursue came during a stint as a part time clerk at Royal North Shore Hospital. He had taken the job to help defray expenses during his media and communications studies at Sydney Uni.
"I loved the patient interaction and the amazing transformation between the person who would be wheeled in and the one who walked out a few days or weeks later. That's when I first started thinking that this could be a pretty good way to make a living," he says.
So after completing his degree at Sydney Uni, he enrolled as a first year medical student at Notre Dame and began his studies two months later in February, 2012.
"When I first decided to study medicine I thought my lack of a scientific background might be a disadvantage. Instead I've discovered that studying Media and Communications has given me an added skill set to draw on," he says and adds that doctors who are good communicators are in increasingly high demand.
"Being able to communicate well with patients as well as colleagues is important," he says and points out one of the main criticisms patients and their families often have is that their doctor either hasn't explained a procedure clearly or has confused them with medical terminology rather than putting things in lay language in a way they can understand.

Kenya's Abecare Ranges Primary School where Esther is a pupil
When John enrolled at the University of Notre Dame Sydney although he was aware of the Medical School's high reputation, he admits it was not until he began his studies that he realised in addition to compulsory core studies of ethics and philosophy, students across all disciplines were also required to undertake at least one social justice project each year.
"'Which is how I ended up in Kenya," he says, explaining that as part of UNDA's Schools of Education and Medicine's Outreach program last summer, he travelled to Kenya's Displaced People's Camp at Nakuru, north of Nairobi with three other med students and a group of education students.
The education students gave lessons at the Aberdare Ranges Primary School while John and his fellow med students' under the supervision of Australian medico, Dr James Robertson screened each of the 300 children at the school, some of whom lived in the camp and others at the adjacent orphanage. Each child had their pulse, heart rate and blood pressure checked, were weighed and also examined for nutritional and other diseases.
Five- year- old Esther it turned out not only had rickets but also a dodgy heart. But the little girl never lost her smile.

Medical student John Farey says his experience as a volunteer in Kenya was life changing
Despite frustration that a lack of funds and poorly equipped health centres with none of the basics of modern medicine means there is unlikely to be any long-term help for Esther, John is keen to continue volunteering for UNDA outreach programs and make whatever difference he can. When he graduates in two and a half year's time, he has two goals. One is to spend time working with a group such as Medicins Sans Frontieres. The other is to enter a short story in the medical graduate category of the annual for Dr Eric Dark Creative Writing Prize.
"The prize for whichever doctor wins that category is a weekend at Varuna, which would be pretty special," he says.
To read "Esther," John Farey's award winning short story which has won the Medical Student category in the 2013 Australian Medical Journal's Sir Eric Dark Creative Writing Prize click on: 


1 Kings 17: 17 - 24

17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill; and his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him.
18 And she said to Eli'jah, "What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!"
19 And he said to her, "Give me your son." And he took him from her bosom, and carried him up into the upper chamber, where he lodged, and laid him upon his own bed.
20 And he cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, hast thou brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?"
21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this child's soul come into him again."
22 And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Eli'jah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
23 And Eli'jah took the child, and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house, and delivered him to his mother; and Eli'jah said, "See, your son lives."
24 And the woman said to Eli'jah, "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth."
Psalms 30: 2, 4 - 6, 11 - 13

2 O LORD my God, I cried to thee for help, and thou hast healed me.
4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, "I shall never be moved."
11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
12 that my soul may praise thee and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to thee for ever.  
Galatians 1: 11 - 19

11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel.
12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it;
14 and I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace,
16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood,
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days.
19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother.
Luke 7: 11 - 17

11 Soon afterward he went to a city called Na'in, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him.
12 As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her.
13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep."
14 And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise."
15 And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother.
16 Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited his people!"
17 And this report concerning him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.


ST. COLUMBKILLE is one of three great saints of Ireland and was the first missionary to Scotland. Born in 521 in Donegal, Ireland to a family connected to kings and princes, Columb was a man gifted with incredible talents. He wrote poetry and music, established churches and monasteries, preached the gospel and painted manuscripts. St. Adamnan, his biographer wrote of him: "He had the face of an angel; he was of an excellent nature, polished in speech, holy in deed, great in counsel . . . loving unto all." He is personally described as "A man well-formed, with powerful frame; his skin was white, his face broad and fair and radiant, lit up with large, gray, luminous eyes.”
DoveFrom an early age Columb seemed destined for the priesthood, his family sent him off to study under the future St. Finnian and at Clonard Abbey he surrendered his princely claims, became a monk and was ordained. He spent the next 15 years preaching and teaching in Ireland. As was the custom in those days, he combined study and prayer with manual labor. By his own natural gifts as well as by the good fortune of his birth, he soon gained ascendancy as a monk of unusual distinction. By the time he was 25, he had founded no less than 27 Irish monasteries, including those at Derry, Durrow, and Kells, as well as some 40 churches. His work for the Church gained him the addition of “kille” to his name. Columb means “dove” in Gaelic and kille is “church”, so he came to be known as the “church’s dove”. Columb lived, with every ounce of his energy, the commission of Jesus to “go and make disciples.”
QuillThere is a famous tale about Columbkille that stands as one of the first copyright cases on record: Columbkille was so anxious to have a copy of Finnian’s Psalter that he shut himself up at night in the church that contained it and secretly transcribed it by hand. He was discovered by a monk who watched him through the keyhole and reported it to his superior. Bibles and prayer books were so scarce in those days that Abbot Finnian claimed the copy, refusing to allow it to leave the monastery. Columbkille refused to surrender it until he was obliged to do so, under protest, on Finnian's appeal to King Diarmaid, who said, "To every cow its calf," meaning to every book its copy.

BoatWhile historically a bit unclear, an unfortunate period followed, during which, owing to Columbkille's protection of a refugee and his impassioned denunciation of an injustice by King Diarmaid, war broke out between the clans of Ireland, and Columbkille became an exile of his own accord. Filled with remorse on account of those who had been slain in battle and condemned by many of his own friends, he experienced a change of heart and an irresistible call to preach to those who had not heard the gospel. In 563, at the age of 42, he left Ireland with 12 companions and landed on an island now known as Iona. Here on this desolate rock, only three miles long and two miles wide, in the northern sea off the southwest corner of Mull, Scotland, he began his work; and, Iona became a center of Christian learning. It became the heart of Celtic Christianity and a potent factor in the conversion of the Picts, Scots, and Northern English. Monks from the monasteries established by Columbkille would later travel to mainland Europe and Christianize the Frank and Germanic tribes.
There are many miracles and incredible events recorded by St. Adamnan in his biography of St. Columbkille and they make for interesting reading. If you wish to believe it, he is one of the first people to encounter the Loch Ness monster. His memory remains a potent force in Celtic lands and his poetry and songs are still sung:
“Alone with none but Thee, my God,
I journey on my way;
what need I fear when Thou art near,
O King of night and day?"


St. Ephrem of Syria
Feast: June 9

Feast Day:June 9
Born:306 at Nisibis, Mesopotamia (in modern Syria)
Died:9 June 373 at Edessa (in modern Iraq)
Patron of:Spiritual directors and spiritual leaders
Born at Nisibis, then under Roman rule, early in the fourth century; died June, 373. The name of his father is unknown, but he was a pagan and a priest of the goddess Abnil or Abizal. His mother was a native of Amid. Ephraem was instructed in the Christian mysteries by St. James, the famous Bishop of Nisibis, and was baptized at the age of eighteen (or twenty-eight). Thenceforth he became more intimate with the holy bishop, who availed himself of the services of Ephraem to renew the moral life of the citizens of Nisibis, especially during the sieges of 338, 346, and 350. One of his biographers relates that on a certain occasion he cursed from the city walls the Persian hosts, whereupon a cloud of flies and mosquitoes settled on the army of Sapor II and compelled it to withdraw. The adventurous campaign of Julian the Apostate, which for a time menaced Persia, ended, as is well known, in disaster, and his successor, Jovianus, was only too happy to rescue from annihilation some remnant of the great army which his predecessor had led across the Euphrates. To accomplish even so much the emperor had to sign a disadvantageous treaty, by the terms of which Rome lost the Eastern provinces conquered at the end of the third century; among the cities retroceded to Persia was Nisibis (363). To escape the cruel persecution that was then raging in Persia, most of the Christian population abandoned Nisibis en masse. Ephraem went with his people, and settled first at Beit-Garbaya, then at Amid, finally at Edessa, the capital of Osrhoene, where he spent the remaining ten years of his life, a hermit remarkable for his severe asceticism. Nevertheless he took an interest in all matters that closely concerned the population of Edessa. Several ancient writers say that he was a deacon; as such he could well have been authorized to preach in public. At this time some ten heretical sects were active in Edessa; Ephraem contended vigorously with all of them, notably with the disciples of the illustrious philosopher Bardesanes. To this period belongs nearly all his literary work; apart from some poems composed at Nisibis, the rest of his writings-sermons, hymns, exegetical treatises-date from his sojourn at Edessa. It is not improbable that he is one of the chief founders of the theological "School of the Persians", so called because its first students and original masters were Persian Christian refugees of 363. At his death St. Ephraem was borne without pomp to the cemetery "of the foreigners". The Armenian monks of the monastery of St. Sergius at Edessa claim to possess his body.

The aforesaid facts represent all that is historically certain concerning the career of Ephraem. All details added later by Syrian biographers are at best of doubtful value. To this class belong not only the legendary and occasionally puerile traits so dear to Oriental writers, but also others seemingly reliable, e.g. an alleged journey to Egypt with a sojourn of eight years, during which he is said to have confuted publicly certain spokesmen of the Arian heretics. The relations of St. Ephraem and St. Basil are narrated by very reliable authors, e.g. St. Gregory of Nyssa (the Pseudo?) and Sozomen, according to whom the hermit of Edessa, attracted by the great reputation of St. Basil, resolved to visit him at Caesarea. He was warmly received and was ordained deacon by St. Basil; four years later he refused both the priesthood and the episcopate that St. Basil offered him through delegates sent for that purpose to Edessa. Though Ephraem seems to have been quite ignorant of Greek, this meeting with St. Basil is not improbable; some good critics, however, hold the evidence insufficient, and therefore reject it, or at least withhold their adhesion. The life of St. Ephraem, therefore, offers not a few obscure problems; only the general outline of his career is known to us. It is certain, however, that while he lived he was very influential among the Syrian Christians of Edessa, and that his memory was revered by all, Orthodox, Monophysites, and Nestorians. They call him the "sun of the Syrians," the "column of the Church", the "harp of the Holy Spirit". More extraordinary still is the homage paid by the Greeks who rarely mention Syrian writers. Among the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa (P.G., XLVI, 819) is a sermon (though not acknowledged by some) which is a real panegyric of St. Ephraem. Twenty years after the latter's death St. Jerome mentions him as follows in his catalogue of illustrious Christians: "Ephraem, deacon of the Church of Edessa, wrote many works [opuscula] in Syriac, and became so famous that his writings are publicly read in some churches after the Sacred Scriptures. I have read in Greek a volume of his on the Holy Spirit; though it was only a translation, I recognized therein the sublime genius of the man" (De viris illustr., c. cxv). Theodoret of Cyrus also praised his poetic genius and theological knowledge (Hist. Eccl., IV, xxvi). Sozomen pretends that Ephraem wrote 3,000,000 verses, and gives the names of some of his disciples, some of whom remained orthodox, while others fell into heresy (Hist. Eccl., III, xvi). From the Syrian and Byzantine Churches the fame of Ephraem spread among all Christians. The Roman Martyrology mentions him on 1 February. In their menologies and synaxaria Greeks and Russians, Jacobites, Chaldeans, Copts, and Armenians honour the holy deacon of Edessa.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)