Ephrem the Syrian (Classical Syriac: ܡܪܝ ܐܦܪܝܡ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ Mār Ap̠rêm Suryāyâ, Classical Syriac pronunciation: [mɒr aɸˈrem surˈjɒˌjɒ]; Koinē Greek: Ἐφραίμ ὁ Σῦρος Efrém o Sýros; Latin: Ephraem Syrus, also known as Saint Ephraem, Ephrem, or Ephraim; c. 306 – 373) was a Syriac Christian deacon and a prolific Syriac-language hymnographer and theologian of the fourth century.
Ephrem is especially beloved in the Syriac Orthodox Church, and counted as a Venerable Father (i.e., a sainted Monk) in the Eastern Orthodox Church. His feast day is celebrated on 28 January and on the Saturday of the Venerable Fathers. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in the Catholic Church in 1920.
Ephrem wrote a wide variety of hymns, poems, and sermons in verse, as well as prose exegesis. These were works of practical theology for the edification of the Church in troubled times. So popular were his works, that, for centuries after his death, Christian authors wrote hundreds of pseudepigraphal works in his name. He has been called the most significant of all of the fathers of the Syriac-speaking church tradition.
Saint Ephrem the Syrian
Mosaic in Nea Moni of Chios (11th century)
|Harp of the Spirit, Deacon, Confessor and Doctor of the Church; Venerable Father|
Nisibis (modern-day Turkey)
|Died||9 June 373|
Edessa (modern-day Turkey)
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
Eastern Orthodox Church
Church of the East
|Feast||28 January (Byzantine Christianity)|
7th Saturday before Easter (Syriac Orthodox Church)
|Attributes||Vine and scroll, deacon's vestments and thurible; with Saint Basil the Great; composing hymns with a lyre|
|Patronage||Spiritual directors and spiritual leaders|
Ephrem was born around the year 306 in the city of Nisibis (now Nusaybin in Turkey), in the contested border region between Sassanid Assyria and Roman Mesopotamia, then-recently acquired by Rome.
Internal evidence from Ephrem's hymnody suggests that both his parents were part of the growing Christian community in the city, although later hagiographers wrote that his father was a pagan priest. Numerous languages were spoken in the Nisibis of Ephrem's day, mostly dialects of Aramaic. The Christian community used the Syriac dialect. The culture included pagan religions, Judaism and early Christian sects.
Jacob, the second bishop of Nisibis, was appointed in 308, and Ephrem grew up under his leadership of the community. Jacob of Nisibis is recorded as a signatory at the First Council of Nicea in 325. Ephrem was baptized as a youth and almost certainly became a son of the covenant, an unusual form of syriac proto-monasticism. Jacob appointed Ephrem as a teacher (Syriac malp̄ānâ, a title that still carries great respect for Syriac Christians). He was ordained as a deacon either at his baptism or later. He began to compose hymns and write biblical commentaries as part of his educational office. In his hymns, he sometimes refers to himself as a "herdsman" (ܥܠܢܐ, ‘allānâ), to his bishop as the "shepherd" (ܪܥܝܐ, rā‘yâ), and to his community as a 'fold' (ܕܝܪܐ, dayrâ). Ephrem is popularly credited as the founder of the School of Nisibis, which, in later centuries, was the centre of learning of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
In 337, Emperor Constantine I, who had legalised and promoted the practice of Christianity in the Roman Empire, died. Seizing on this opportunity, Shapur II of Persia began a series of attacks into Roman North Mesopotamia. Nisibis was besieged in 338, 346 and 350. During the first siege, Ephrem credits Bishop Jacob as defending the city with his prayers. In the third siege, of 350, Shapur rerouted the River Mygdonius to undermine the walls of Nisibis. The Nisibenes quickly repaired the walls while the Persian elephant cavalry became bogged down in the wet ground. Ephrem celebrated what he saw as the miraculous salvation of the city in a hymn that portrayed Nisibis as being like Noah's Ark, floating to safety on the flood.
One important physical link to Ephrem's lifetime is the baptistery of Nisibis. The inscription tells that it was constructed under Bishop Vologeses in 359. In that year, Shapur attacked again. The cities around Nisibis were destroyed one by one, and their citizens killed or deported. Constantius II was unable to respond; the campaign of Julian in 363 ended with his death in battle. His army elected Jovian as the new emperor, and to rescue his army, he was forced to surrender Nisibis to Persia (also in 363) and to permit the expulsion of the entire Christian population.
Ephrem, with the others, went first to Amida (Diyarbakır), eventually settling in Edessa (modern Şanlıurfa) in 363. Ephrem, in his late fifties, applied himself to ministry in his new church and seems to have continued his work as a teacher, perhaps in the School of Edessa. Edessa had always been at the heart of the Syriac-speaking world, and the city was full of rival philosophies and religions. Ephrem comments that orthodox Nicene Christians were simply called "Palutians" in Edessa, after a former bishop. Arians, Marcionites, Manichees, Bardaisanites and various gnostic sects proclaimed themselves as the true church. In this confusion, Ephrem wrote a great number of hymns defending Nicene orthodoxy. A later Syriac writer, Jacob of Serugh, wrote that Ephrem rehearsed all-female choirs to sing his hymns set to Syriac folk tunes in the forum of Edessa. After a ten-year residency in Edessa, in his sixties, Ephrem succumbed to the plague as he ministered to its victims. The most reliable date for his death is 9 June 373.
Over four hundred hymns composed by Ephrem still exist. Granted that some have been lost, Ephrem's productivity is not in doubt. The church historian Sozomen credits Ephrem with having written over three million lines. Ephrem combines in his writing a threefold heritage: he draws on the models and methods of early Rabbinic Judaism, he engages skillfully with Greek science and philosophy, and he delights in the Mesopotamian/Persian tradition of mystery symbolism.
The most important of his works are his lyric, teaching hymns (ܡܕܖ̈ܫܐ, madrāšê). These hymns are full of rich, poetic imagery drawn from biblical sources, folk tradition, and other religions and philosophies. The madrāšê are written in stanzas of syllabic verse and employ over fifty different metrical schemes. Each madrāšâ had its qālâ (ܩܠܐ), a traditional tune identified by its opening line. All of these qālê are now lost. It seems that Bardaisan and Mani composed madrāšê, and Ephrem felt that the medium was a suitable tool to use against their claims. The madrāšê are gathered into various hymn cycles. Each group has a title — Carmina Nisibena, On Faith, On Paradise, On Virginity, Against Heresies — but some of these titles do not do justice to the entirety of the collection (for instance, only the first half of the Carmina Nisibena is about Nisibis). Each madrāšâ usually had a refrain (ܥܘܢܝܬܐ, ‘ûnîṯâ), which was repeated after each stanza. Later writers have suggested that the madrāšê were sung by all-women choirs with an accompanying lyre.
Particularly influential were his Hymns Against Heresies. Ephrem used these to warn his flock of the heresies that threatened to divide the early church. He lamented that the faithful were "tossed to and fro and carried around with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness and deceitful wiles." He devised hymns laden with doctrinal details to inoculate right-thinking Christians against heresies such as docetism. The Hymns Against Heresies employ colourful metaphors to describe the Incarnation of Christ as fully human and divine. Ephrem asserts that Christ's unity of humanity and divinity represents peace, perfection and salvation; in contrast, docetism and other heresies sought to divide or reduce Christ's nature and, in doing so, rend and devalue Christ's followers with their false teachings.
Ephrem also wrote verse homilies (ܡܐܡܖ̈ܐ, mêmrê). These sermons in poetry are far fewer in number than the madrāšê. The mêmrê were written in a heptosyllabic couplets (pairs of lines of seven syllables each).
The third category of Ephrem's writings is his prose work. He wrote a biblical commentary on the Diatessaron (the single gospel harmony of the early Syriac church), the Syriac original of which was found in 1957. His Commentary on Genesis and Exodus is an exegesis of Genesis and Exodus. Some fragments exist in Armenian of his commentaries on the Acts of the Apostles and Pauline Epistles.
Ephrem wrote exclusively in the Syriac language, but translations of his writings exist in Classical Armenian, Coptic, Old Georgian, Koine Greek and other languages. Some of his works are only extant in translation (particularly in Armenian). Syriac churches still use many of Ephrem's hymns as part of the annual cycle of worship. However, most of these liturgical hymns are edited and conflated versions of the originals.
The most complete, critical text of authentic Ephrem was compiled between 1955 and 1979 by Dom Edmund Beck, OSB, as part of the Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium.
As Chronologist, St. Ephrem the Syrian has composed the history of the Patriarchs and Kings from the Creation to the Crucifixion of Christ, The Book of the Cave of Treasure, translated by W. Budge from the Syriac text of the British Museum Mss Add. 25875, published by The Religious Tract Society, 1927.
Ephrem's writings contain a rich variety of symbols and metaphors. Christopher Buck gives a summary of analysis of a selection of six key scenarios (the way, robe of glory, sons and daughters of the Covenant, wedding feast, harrowing of hell, Noah’s Ark/Mariner) and six root metaphors (physician, medicine of life, mirror, pearl, Tree of life, paradise).
Ephrem's artful meditations on the symbols of Christian faith and his stand against heresy made him a popular source of inspiration throughout the church. This occurred to the extent that there is a huge corpus of Ephrem pseudepigraphy and legendary hagiography. Some of these compositions are in verse, often a version of Ephrem's heptosyllabic couplets. Most of these works are considerably later compositions in Greek. Students of Ephrem often refer to this corpus as having a single author called "Greek Ephrem", or Ephraem Graecus (as opposed to the real Ephrem the Syrian). This is not to say that all texts ascribed to Ephrem in Greek are by others, but many are. Although Greek compositions are the main source of pseudepigraphal material, there are also works in Latin, Slavonic and Arabic. There has been very little critical examination of these works, and many are still treasured by some churches as authentic.
Soon after Ephrem's death, legendary accounts of his life began to circulate. One of the earlier "modifications" is the statement that Ephrem's father was a pagan priest of Abnil or Abizal. However, internal evidence from his authentic writings suggest that he was raised by Christian parents.
The second legend attached to Ephrem is that he was a monk. In Ephrem's day, monasticism was in its infancy in Egypt. He seems to have been a part of the members of the covenant, a close-knit, urban community of Christians that had "covenanted" themselves to service and had refrained from sexual activity. Some of the Syriac terms that Ephrem used to describe his community were later used to describe monastic communities, but the assertion that he was a monk is anachronistic. Later hagiographers often painted a picture of Ephrem as an extreme ascetic, but the internal evidence of his authentic writings show him to have had a very active role, both within his church community and through witness to those outside of it.
Ephrem is venerated as an example of monastic discipline in Eastern Christianity. In the Eastern Orthodox scheme of hagiography, Ephrem is counted as a Venerable Father (i.e., a sainted Monk). His feast day is celebrated on 28 January and on the Saturday of the Venerable Fathers (Cheesefare Saturday), which is the Saturday before the beginning of Great Lent.
Ephrem is popularly believed to have taken legendary journeys. In one of these he visits Basil of Caesarea. This links the Syrian Ephrem with the Cappadocian Fathers and is an important theological bridge between the spiritual view of the two, who held much in common. Ephrem is also supposed to have visited Saint Pishoy in the monasteries of Scetes in Egypt. As with the legendary visit with Basil, this visit is a theological bridge between the origins of monasticism and its spread throughout the church.
On 5 October 1920, Pope Benedict XV proclaimed Ephrem a Doctor of the Church ("Doctor of the Syrians"). This proclamation was made before critical editions of Ephrem's authentic writings were available.
The most popular title for Ephrem is Harp of the Spirit (Syriac: ܟܢܪܐ ܕܪܘܚܐ, Kenārâ d-Rûḥâ). He is also referred to as the Deacon of Edessa, the Sun of the Syrians and a Pillar of the Church.
His Roman Catholic feast day of 9 June conforms to his date of death. For 48 years (1920–1969), it was on 18 June, and this date is still observed in the Extraordinary Form.
The See of Nisibis was founded in 300 by Babu (d. 309). His successor, the celebrated St. James, defended the city by his prayers during the siege of Sapor II.
Year 373 (CCCLXXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Augustus and Valens (or, less frequently, year 1126 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 373 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers. There is no definitive list. The era of these scholars who set the theological and scholarly foundations of Christianity largely ended by AD 700 (John of Damascus died in 749 AD, Byzantine Iconoclasm began in 726 AD).In the past, the Church Fathers were regarded as authoritative and more restrictive definitions were used which sought to limit the list to authors treated as such. However, the definition has widened as scholars of patristics, the study of the Church Fathers, have expanded their scope.Cyrillona
Cyrillona (fl. 4th century AD) (alternative spelling: Qurilona, a diminutive from Kyrillos) was an early Syriac poet.
He was the younger contemporary of Ephrem the Syrian. Gustav Bickell has referred to him as the most important Syriac poet after Ephrem.
He was a contemporary of Balai of Qenneshrin.It is speculated that he might have been a nephew of Ephrem the Syrian.Only five of Cyrillona's poems survive, each examined and explained by Griffin, but "On the Grain of Wheat" is of doubtful authenticity. His poem On Zaccheus, is about the invasion of Syria by Huns, is preserved on the manuscript BL Add. 14,591 kept at the British Library.Doctor of the Church
Doctor of the Church (Latin doctor "teacher") is a title given by the Catholic Church to saints recognized as having made significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their research, study, or writing.Some other churches have similar categories with various names.Ephrem Mtsire
Ephrem Mtsire or Ephraim the Lesser (Georgian: ეფრემ მცირე) (died c. 1101/3) was a Georgian monk at Antioch, theologian and translator of patristic literature from Greek.
Information as to Ephrem’s life is scarce. Early in life he received a thorough Hellenic education presumably in Constantinople, where his purported father Vache Karich'isdze, a Georgian nobleman from Tao, had removed in 1027. Ephrem then became a monk at the Black Mountain near Antioch, which was populated by a vibrant Georgian monastic community of around 70 monks. Later in his life, c. 1091, Ephrem became a hegumen of the Kastana monastery, probably at the Castalia spring in Daphne, outside Antioch.
Ephrem’s hellenophile translational technique proved to be fundamental for later Georgian literature. He was the first to introduce literal rendering into Georgian, and made scholia and lexica familiar to Georgian readers. Some of his notable translations are the works by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, Basil of Caesarea, Ephrem the Syrian, and John of Damascus. Ephrem’s original work "Tale on the Reason for the Conversion of the Georgians" (უწყებაჲ მიზეზსა ქართველთა მოქცევისასა; uts’qebay mizezsa k’art’velt’a mok’tsevisasa) is yet another manifesto in defense of autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church which was subject of a dispute between the Georgian and Antiochian churchmen in the 11th century.Gustav Bickell
Gustav Bickell (7 July 1838 – 15 January 1906) was a German orientalist. He was born in Kassel, and died in Vienna.
His father, Johann Wilhelm Bickell, was professor of canon law at the University of Marburg, and died (1848) as minister of justice of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel). In 1862 Gustav became Privatdozent of Semitic and Indo-Germanic languages at Marburg, but the following year he went in the same capacity to the University of Giessen. The finding of a clear testimony in favour of the Immaculate Conception in the hymns of Ephrem the Syrian, which he was transcribing in London, led him to enter the Catholic Church, 5 Nov., 1865. After his conversion he entered the seminary of Fulda, where he was ordained priest, 22 Sept., 1865.
He then taught Oriental languages at the Academy of Münster, and in 1871 was appointed extraordinary professor. At this period he became widely known by his vigorous defence of papal infallibility. In 1874 he went to the University of Innsbruck as professor of Christian archaeology and Semitic languages, which position he held till 1891, when he was called to the chair of Semitic languages at the University of Vienna.Isaac of Nineveh
Isaac of Nineveh (Syriac: ܡܪܝ ܐܝܣܚܩ ܕܢܝܢܘܐ; Arabic: إسحاق النينوي Ishaq an-Naynuwī; Greek: Ἰσαὰκ Σύρος; c. 613 – c. 700), also remembered as Saint Isaac the Syrian, Abba Isaac, Isaac Syrus and Isaac of Qatar, was a 7th-century Church of the East Syriac Christian bishop and theologian best remembered for his written works on Christian asceticism, and beloved also Syrian Orthodox Church Bishop against Nestorianism. He is regarded as a saint in the (non-Ephesine) Syrian Orthodox Church and Assyrian Church of the East. and In the Chaldean Catholic and Eastern Orthodox tradition, his feast day falls, together with 4th-century theologian and hymnographer St. Ephrem the Syrian, on January 28.Jacob of Nisibis
Saint Jacob of Nisibis (Syriac: ܝܥܩܘܒ ܢܨܝܒܢܝܐ, Yaʿqôḇ Nṣîḇnāyâ, Greek: Ἅγιος Ἰάκωβος Ἐπίσκοπος Μυγδονίας), also known as Saint Jacob of Mygdonia,, Saint Jacob the Great, and Saint James of Nisibis, was the Bishop of Nisibis until his death.
He was lauded as the "Moses of Mesopotamia", and was the spiritual father of the renowned writer and theologian Saint Ephrem the Syrian. Saint Jacob was present at the first ecumenical council at Nicaea, and is venerated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church, and Roman Catholic Church.Light of Christ
The light of Christ is a concept in Christianity deriving from several passages in the New Testament. One of the main reference points for 'the light of Christ,' is in the prologue of John's Gospel, John 1:9, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (KJV Bible). Another is the Apostle Paul's citation "Christ will shine on you" (Ephesians 5:14).Notable writers on the concept of the light of Christ include Ephrem the Syrian in the fourth century, Severus of Antioch in the sixth century, and the Quaker William Penn.List of churches in Aleppo
List of active churches and cathedrals in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Note that around 20 churches received damages of several degrees during the Battle of Aleppo ended in December 2016.Mor (honorific)
Mor (vernacular pronunciation) or Mar (from Classical Syriac: ܡܪܝ Mār(y), written with a silent final yodh) is a title of respect in Syriac, literally meaning 'my lord'. It is given to all saints and is also used before Christian name of bishops. The corresponding feminine form given to women saints is Mart or Mort (Syriac: ܡܪܬܝ, Mārt(y)). The title is placed before the Christian name, as in Mar Aprem/Mor Afrem (Ephrem the Syrian) and Mart/Mort Maryam (Mary, mother of Jesus).
The variant Maran or Moran (Syriac: ܡܪܢ, Māran), meaning "Our Lord", is a particular title given to Jesus, either alone or in combination with other names and titles. Likewise, Martan or Mortan (Syriac: ܡܪܬܢ, Mārtan, "Our Lady") is a title of Mary, mother of Jesus.
Occasionally, the term Maran or Moran has been used of various Eastern Christian patriarchs and catholicoi. The Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, the Malankara Orthodox Catholicos use the title Moran Mor. Sometimes the Indian bearers of this title are called Moran Mar, using a hybrid style from both Syriac dialects that reflects somewhat the history of Syrian Christians in Kerala. The Pope of Rome is referred to as Mar Papa by the Saint Thomas Christians of India.
The obscure variant Marya or Moryo (Syriac: ܡܪܝܐ, Māryā) is used in the Peshitta Old Testament to render the Tetragrammaton. Although this word is clearly a derived form of the above, there is a fanciful derivation found in early Syriac lexica, that the word is an initialism as follows:
ܡ — ܡܪܘܬܐ, māruṯā, 'lordship'
ܪ — ܪܒܘܬܐ, rabbuṯā, 'majesty'
ܝ ܐ — ܐܝܬܝܐ, iṯyā, 'self-existence'In Mishnaic Hebrew through to date this Aramaic word is pronounced [mar] (Hebrew: מָר), and it is used as a formal way of addressing or referring to a male person. In the Gemara, Tabyomi is sometimes referred to as Mar. "Mar" was also the title of the Exilarch (leader of the Jewish diaspora community in Babylon), with the Aramaic-speaking Jews sharing many cultural attributes with the Syriac Christians. In the Modern Hebrew of contemporary Israel, "Mar" is used without distinction for any male person, like "Mr." in English. However, in Rabbanical circles of Jews from the Middle East, the Aramaic variant form מָרָן (Maran, Aramaic: our lord) is still a title to used for highly appreciated Rabbis, such as Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party.Polycarpus Augin Aydin
Polycarpus Augin Aydın (Syriac: ܡܪܝ ܦܘܠܝܩܪܦܘܣ ܐܘܓܝܢ ܐܝܕܝܢ; born Edip Aydın (Syriac: ܐܕܝܒ ܐܝܕܝܢ); on June 10, 1971 near Nusaybin (Nisibis), Turkey), is the Metropolitan and Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of the Netherlands of the Syriac Orthodox Church. The Metropolitan Seat is located at St. Ephrem the Syrian Monastery in Glane/Losser, the Netherlands.Saint-Éphrem-de-Beauce, Quebec
Saint-Éphrem-de-Beauce is a municipality in the Municipalité régionale de comté de Beauce-Sartigan in Quebec, Canada. It is part of the Chaudière-Appalaches region and the population was 2,567 as of the Canadian census of 2011. It was named after Ephrem the Syrian.School of Edessa
The School of Edessa (Syriac: ܐܣܟܘܠܐ ܕܐܘܪܗܝ), often confused with the School of Nisibis, was a theological school of great importance to the Syriac-speaking world. It had been founded as long ago as the 2nd century by the kings of the Abgar dynasty. In 363, Nisibis fell to the Persians, causing St. Ephrem the Syrian, accompanied by a number of teachers, to leave the School of Nisibis. They went to Edessa, where Ephrem took over the directorship of its school. Then, its importance grew still further. There were innumerable monasteries at Edessa housing many monks and offering many cells for their abode. Ephrem occupied a cell there, practicing the ascetic life, interpreting Holy Scripture, composing poetry and hymns and teaching in the school, as well as instructing young girls in church music.The first recorded director of the School of Edessa was Qiiore. In the early 5th century had ascetic and scholarly qualifications and had administrative ability. Occupying the Chair of Exegesis (mepasqana), he replaced the texts of Ephraim with those of Theodore of Mopsuestia. With that seminal decision, Qiiore embarked upon a course of study that was to mix the deductive principles of Aristotle with Theodore's Dyophysite creed.In 489, after the Nestorian Schism, the Byzantine emperor, Zeno, ordered the school summarily closed for its teachings of Nestorian doctrine. Its scholars moved back to the School of Nisibis.Sebastian Brock
Sebastian Paul Brock, FBA (born 1938, London) is generally acknowledged as the foremost academic in the field of Syriac language today. He is a former Reader in Syriac Studies at the University of Oxford's Oriental Institute and currently a professorial fellow at Wolfson College.
Sebastian Brock studied at Eton College, completed his BA degree at the University of Cambridge, and a DPhil at Oxford. He is the recipient of a number of honorary doctorates and has been awarded the Medal of Saint Ephrem the Syrian by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch and the Leverhulme prize and medal of the British Academy. He is a widely published author on Syriac topics.Serian
Serian may refer to:
Syrian (band), An Italian synthpop band
Syrian Wars, a series of six wars between the Seleucid Empire and the Ptolemaic Kingdom
Ephrem the SyrianIn places:
Serian, Punjab, a town in Punjab, Pakistan
Serian, Sarawak, a town in Sarawak, Malaysia
Serian (federal constituency), represented in the Dewan RakyatIn zoology:
Syrian brown bear, a subspecies of brown bear
Syrian camel, an extinct species of camel from Syria
Syrian elephant, extinct elephant
Syrian hamster, a commonly kept pet
Syrian serin, a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae
Syrian wild ass, an extinct subspecies of Equus hemionus
Syrian woodpecker, a member of the woodpecker family, the PicidaeSirin
Sirin is a mythological creature of Russian legends, with the head and chest of a beautiful woman and the body of a bird (usually an owl). According to myth, the Sirins lived in Vyraj or around the Euphrates River.These half-women half-birds are directly based on the Greek myths and later folklore about sirens. They were usually portrayed wearing a crown or with a nimbus. Sirins sang beautiful songs to the saints, foretelling future joys. For mortals, however, the birds were dangerous. Men who heard them would forget everything on earth, follow them, and ultimately die. People would attempt to save themselves from Sirins by shooting cannons, ringing bells and making other loud noises to scare the bird off. Later (17-18th century), the image of Sirins changed and they started to symbolize world harmony (as they live near paradise). People in those times believed only happy people could hear a Sirin, while only very few could see one because she is as fast and difficult to catch as human happiness. She symbolizes eternal joy and heavenly happiness.The legend of Sirin might have been introduced to Rus' by Persian merchants in the 8th-9th century. In the cities of Chersonesos and Kiev they are often found on pottery, golden pendants, even on the borders of Gospel books of tenth-twelfth centuries. Pomors often depicted Sirins on the illustrations in the Book of Genesis as birds sitting in paradise trees.Sometimes Sirins are seen as a metaphor for God's word going into the soul of a man. Sometimes they are seen as a metaphor of heretics tempting the weak. Sometimes Sirins were considered equivalent to the Polish Wila. In Russian folklore, Sirin was mixed with the revered religious writer Saint Ephrem the Syrian. Thus, peasant lyrists such as Nikolay Klyuev often used Sirins as a synonym for poet.Syrian chant
Syrian chant is the chant used in Syriac Christianity.
As Syria was one of the earliest centers of Christianity, its style of chant is among the oldest in the world. However, as no early musical manuscripts exist, it is conjectural to what extent the modern repertoire reflects the early traditions.
In the early church, the music consisted of hymns and antiphonal psalmody. The earliest extant work is the Gnostic Psalter of the 2nd century, a collection of Psalm texts in hymn form reflecting a Gnostic theology. The first orthodox work are the hymns of Ephrem the Syrian (306–373), some of which are still used today. Both hymns and antiphonal psalmody were brought by St. Ambrose to Milan and are apparently the basis for Ambrosian chant.
Modern Syrian chant is much more rhythmic and syllabic than Gregorian chant.Thaddeus of Edessa
According to Eastern Christian tradition, Thaddeus of Edessa (Syriac: ܡܪܝ ܐܕܝ, Mar Addai or Mor Aday, sometimes Latinized Addeus) was one of the seventy disciples of Jesus. He is possibly identical with Thaddaeus, one of the Twelve Apostles. From an early date his hagiography is filled with legends and fabrications. The saint himself may be entirely fictitious.
|West Syriac, legacy of |
the Patriarchate of Antioch
Saint Thomas Christians
|East Syriac, legacy of|
the Church of the East
(the "Nestorian Church")
(active 4th century–1552)
|Saint Thomas Christians,|
the Malankara Church
(active 1st century–1601)