Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Saints of Summer

With Pentecost and Trinity now behind us, and the green of summer in front of us, the calendar is dotted with special days for the saints. The Episcopal Church saints and saint days are often the same as those on Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox calendars, but not always. We have a few of our own, like Martin Luther King, Jr

The saints on the Episcopal calendar are approved by General Convention, which meets every three years and will meet this summer (and it was my privilege in 1997 as a deputy to convention to vote to include on the saint calendar Absalom Jones who founded an integrated Episcopal Church in Philadelphia 1786). Becoming a saint in our church is not as elaborate as in some other traditions; miracles are not required, but courageous lives are.

Today is one such saint day: Ephrem of Edessa, aka Ephraim the Syrian. He is not exactly a household name, but that is one of the charms in remembering the saints. Ephrem died around 372. He was a deacon chiefly known as a hymn writer, and he accompanied his bishop to the Council of Nicea (as in Nicene Creed). As a deacon, he served the poor. He lived in a cave, and he distributed food to the starving during a famine in 372 and became so sick he died. It is for his selfless service as a deacon that Ephrem is remembered as a saint of the church.

You can keep up with the saint days by consulting the daily lectionary by clicking HERE. And we will probably celebrate a few more on this page this summer.

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