The Lyre of the Holy Spirit

The following quote is from Ephrem the Syrian, a church father who lived near the border of Persia during the fourth century. Ephrem was an articulate leader of the Syriac Church who wrote biblical commentaries, sermons, apologetic works against heresy, and hymns. Especially gifted at poetry, he came to be known as “the lyre of the Holy Spirit.”

[Jesus], the son of a carpenter, clearly made his cross a bridge over Sheol [the abode of the dead], that swallows everything, and brought mankind over it into the dwelling of life. Because it was through the tree [in the Garden of Eden] that mankind had fallen into Sheol, so it was on the tree [the cross] that they passed over into the dwelling of life. Thus the tree brought not only bitterness but also sweetness—that we might learn that none of God’s creatures can resist him. Glory be to you who laid your cross as a bridge over death, that souls might pass over it from the dwelling of the dead to the dwelling of life! (Homily on our Lord 4) [1]


Tony Lane. A Concise History of Christian Thought. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 35

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