“The church calendar is full of sons of the Resurrection, those who confessed and loved the Lord who rose from the dead, people who understood that after this transient life those who believe in the Saviour Jesus Christ will live even if they die, i.e. they will live in eternity,” Assistant Bishop Timotei of Prahova said at Radu Voda Monastery in Bucharest, celebrating the feast of Saint Ephraim of Nea Makri.
The Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest called St Ephraim a “son of the Resurrection and a confessor in word and deed of a not-of-this-world love.”
The hierarch reminded the context in which St Ephraim was martyred. The monastery where the Saint was from the age of 14 was attacked by the Ottomans. St. Ephraim was not there because he had withdrawn to a cave in the area for prayer. All the monks were beheaded, and he remained to bury them. After about a year, however, it was his turn to be killed by the Turks.
On September 14, 1425, when the Saint turned 41, he was taken, prisoner. For eight and a half months, he was subjected to terrible torment even in the courtyard of his monastery to renounce the Christian faith.
“He understood then that he would have to carry his cross to the end, he who had been born on a day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross,” said Assistant Bishop Timotei of Prahova.
“The barbarians humiliated him, kept him in chains. Many times, they hung him from a tree, they did not offer him food for days on end. But their attempt to convert him to the Muslim faith was unsuccessful.”
“Finally, on May 5, 1425, they sent him to the One whom the young monk Ephraim confessed and truly loved. After particularly severe torments, after nailing with many iron nails in various places of his body, including his head, they pierced his belly with a piece of wood that was burning, causing him terrible torment and bloodshed. But he remained brave until the end.”
May he strengthens our hesitant faith!
“The feast of St. Ephraim the New calls us all to strengthen our faith. It calls us to see beyond alliances, beyond friends, beyond the hopes that we can put in some or others most of the time remaining unanswered. He showed that the surest friendship and the most faithful service must be addressed or dedicated to the Saviour Christ,” Bishop Timotei added.
“St. Ephraim teaches all who are in severe persecution, wherever they may be in the world, that nothing compares to the Saviour’s love for us and our love for Him, the friendship that the saints show us, but also with the hope that we must put in them.”
“We pray to St. Ephraim to intercede before the One whom He served and whom He confessed with a strength like stone and diamond, to strengthen our hesitant faith, to show us, victors, over darkness and trials, and to give us joy from the joy of those who have always seen and felt the Saviour Jesus Christ, the risen one.”
With the blessing of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, Radu-Vodă Monastery keeps, since May 3, 2015, a fragment of the Holy Relics of the New Monk-Martyr Ephraim of Nea Makri.