Saint of the day:
Patron Saint of spiritual directors and spiritual leaders
Saint Ephrem's Story
Poet, teacher, orator, and defender of the faith, Ephrem is the only Syriac Christian recognized as a doctor of the Church. He took upon himself the special task of opposing the many false doctrines rampant at his time, always remaining a true and forceful defender of the Catholic Church.
Born in Nisibis, Mesopotamia, he was baptized as a young man and became famous as a teacher in his native city. When the Christian emperor had to cede Nisibis to the Persians, Ephrem fled as a refugee to Edessa, along with many other Christians. He is credited with attracting great glory to the biblical school there. He was ordained a deacon but declined becoming a priest. Ephrem was said to have avoided presbyteral consecration by feigning madness!
He had a prolific pen, and his writings best illumine his holiness. Although he was not a man of great scholarship, his works reflect deep insight and knowledge of the Scriptures. In writing about the mysteries of humanity’s redemption, Ephrem reveals a realistic and humanly sympathetic spirit and a great devotion to the humanity of Jesus. It is said that his poetic account of the Last Judgment inspired Dante.
It is surprising to read that he wrote hymns against the heretics of his day. He would take the popular songs of the heretical groups and using their melodies, compose beautiful hymns embodying orthodox doctrine. Ephrem became one of the first to introduce song into the Church’s public worship as a means of instruction for the faithful. His many hymns have earned him the title “Harp of the Holy Spirit.”
Ephrem preferred a simple, austere life, living in a small cave overlooking the city of Edessa. It was here that he died around 373.
St. Ephraim Monastery
Agiou Efrem, Nea Makri 190 05, Greece
500 ml water
300 g sugar
4 tsp lemon juice
100 g butter
500 g kunāfah dough
500 g ricotta cheese
100 g sugar
50 g butter
100 g blanched almonds
First, preheat the oven to 180°C.
Next, bring water and 300 g of sugar to boil in a saucepan over high heat. Turn the heat to lowest setting and continue simmering for 10 minutes; the mixture should reach syrup consistency. Add lemon juice and remove from fire.
In another bowl combine ricotta, sugar and 50 g of butter cut into smaller pieces.
Take a 24-cm diameter round tin, grease and arrange the almonds around it. Take half of the kunāfah dough and press gently down the bottom and the sides to create an even layer.
Transfer the ricotta, sugar and butter mixture onto the dough and distribute evenly.
Cover the kunāfah with the other half of the dough.
Bake for 35-45 minutes until the kunāfah dough is golden.
Invert the kunāfah to a serving dish, so the almond side is up. Drizzle with syrup while it is still warm and serve immediately.