Deacon, monk, musician, inspired poet and profound commentator of sacred Scripture, St. Ephrem the Syrian is a saint and church father beloved by all branches of Christ's Church. This fourth-century saint was so admired and influential in early Armenia that a great many of his writings were among the first works after the Bible to be rendered into Armenian by the holy Translators, Sts. Sahag and Mesrob.
The great scholar (and former President of the Republic of Armenia), Levon Der Petrosyan, has written that the ancient Armenian translations of the works of Ephrem represent "the greatest Armenian contributions to the field of patristics."
On Saturday, May 13, 2006, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary is dedicating a full day to St. Ephrem. Entitled, St. Ephrem the Syrian: Theology in Poetry, Music, Word and Color,the day of learning, fellowship and prayer will take place at St. Mark's Syrian Orthodox Cathedral, 260 Elm Avenue, Teaneck, New Jersey, graciously hosted by the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the Eastern United States.
The conference will be the third of three St. Nersess programs this Spring dedicated to St. Ephrem the Syrian in the Armenian Church.
As is true of any polished gem, St. Ephrem has many facets. The day's program will allow participants to listen to St. Ephrem's music and hymns, behold his icons, hear his poetry, encounter his theology, reflect on his monastic thought and pray his words.
Leading the day will be authorities from several ethnic and church backgrounds who have in common a love for St. Ephrem and a deep appreciation for his many contributions to the riches of Christian life.
This St. Ephrem Day will be of great interest to all men and women of faith, students of the Christian East, priests, deacons, choir members, Church School teachers, seminarians and other interested members of the public.
"St. Ephrem is a pillar of both the Armenian and the Syrian Orthodox Churches," said Fr. Daniel Findikyan, St. Nersess Dean. "Our hope is to introduce our people to this majestic saint, whose beautiful hymns and poignant Christian vision have left a lasting mark on the Armenian Church." Fr. Daniel added, "St. Ephrem is too great a figure to be left to the scholars--he belongs to all of us."
The day's presentations will include:
Introducing St. Ephrem the Syrian
Vice-President and Co-Founder of Gorgias Press
Soorp Yeprem Asori: Ephrem in Armenian Dress
Edward G. Mathews, Jr.
Scholar-in-Residence, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary
A Wedding Feast of Song: St. Ephrem and the Singing Ministry of Women in the Church
Rabban Awgen Aydin
Princeton Theological Seminary
Mar Gabriel Monastery, Tur-Abdin
Victory Over Temptation, Victory Over Death: St. Ephrem on Christ's Descent into Sheol
Thomas Buchan III
Gorgias Press and Drew University
Monk of New Skete
The Colors of a Saint: How Our Traditions Depict St. Ephrem in Iconography
Trinity College, Toronto
St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY
Interspersed throughout the interactive lectures will be live performances of St. Ephrem's hymns in Armenian and Syriac by by Deacon Nishan Baljian (St. Nersess Armenian Seminary) and Gabriel Aydin (St. Ephrem Syrian Orthodox Church, Central Falls, Rhode Island).
The day will begin with Morning Prayers in the Armenian tradition, and will close with Evening Prayer officiated by the Syrian Orthodox clergy and faithful. Lunch will be served at midday.
"Our St. Ephrem Day will be of great interest and great fun to all the faithful of our two sister churches," said Dr. Roberta Ervine, who has been involved in the organization and planning of the event. "We hope that many of our Sunday School and Armenian School students and teachers, as well as choir members, deacons, clergy, and other interested members of the community will come and enjoy this innovative day of learning and prayer."
Registration will also be possible at the door on the day of the conference for $20. For logistical reasons lunch will not be available to those who register after May 5, 2006 or at the door.
For additional information, contact the Seminary at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: (914) 636-2003.