Mission Overview w LINKS

Welcome to St. Ephrem Mission
Our Links to:
  • Church and Calendar Links;
  • Notes on St. Ephrem the Syrian;
  • IOC News, Seminary Life;
  • Christology, Ecclesiology, Ecumenism,
  • Liturgy, Icons, Ministries

Patron of the Our Mission

Icon of Our Holy Father Ephrem
written by the hand of KhouriaHeather

The script on the left:

Harp of the Spirit

and on the right:
Second Moses to Womankind

Notes on Ephrem the Syrian

  • (1) Ephrem: wiki resource

  • Scholarly biography of Ephrem the Syrian

  • Ephrem's Influence On The Greeks
  • Taylor, Hugoye

  • Ephrem: Inspiration to Byzantine Artists
  • Gavrilovic, Hugoye

  • Spiritual Father for Whole Church: Universal Appeal of Ephrem the Syrian
  • Griffith, Hugoye

    Icon of the Many-Eyed Six-Winged Seraph
    written by KhouriaHeather

    Christ and Church:koinonia, metanoia, theosis
    liturgical and iconographic styles

    Ecclesiology and The Catholica

  • What is Orthodoxy?
  • A word of Introduction to the Church by Rev.Dr.V.C.Samuel

  • Tradition vs. Traditionalism
  • CONTINUITY AND CREATIVITY by Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan -- A reflection upon the Communion of the Saints: "Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living."

  • The People of God
  • George C. Papademetriou: an Orthodox understanding of the people of God.
    God's creation of the human person as being in God's image is the place to begin for our understanding of the idea of the term "people of God."

    Patristics: Syriac Typology see also page sidebar links:
    re Naming the Mysteries"
    "Rabbula Gospels and Syriac Scripts"
    "Syriac to Aramaic re West-East"
    "Korban, Exodos to Pesaho-Pascha"
    "Syriac Hymns
    re Madrasha - Memre

    Byzantine Kontakia"

    Syriac Teaching Songs: catechetics and mystagogy
    "fides quaerens intellectum"
    "fides adorans mysterium":

    a Syriac "Phenomenlogy of Disclosure"
    the Mystery-Symbol called "raza (sing.), raze (plur.)":
    as anamnesis and eccelsiology ~
    living kerygma re Eschatological Fulfillment
    christology + pneumatology

    Eccelsiology and Ecumenism

    FOCUS: fellowship of orthodox christians united to serve. FOCUS home page

    IOCC: International Orthodox Christian Charities

    The Eastern Christian Churches
    7th ed, Fr. Ronald Roberson: excellent info ONLINE TEXT
    Assyrian Church of the East | Oriental Orthodox Churches | Eastern Orthodox Churches | Catholic Eastern Churches | Ecumenical Relations

    Info LINKS: Oriental Churches
    Indian Coptic Syrian Armenian Ethiopian Eritrean

    More Ecumenical Resources

    Ecumenical Notes FYI

    Ecclesiology and Liturgy Resources

    and in spanish: "Eclesiología católica y eclesiología ortodoxa"

    Heavenly Liturgy
    the Liturgical Year:



    Welcome - Introduction

    Ethiopian Theotokos
    written by the hand of KhouriaHeather

    The Liturgical Calendar as a Theology of Seasons and Scripture

    Calendar and Scripture Readings

  • Liturgical Calendar: continuous for easy scrolling entire year, with Scripture Links

  • Monthly Calendar: Liturgical Feasts links to Scriptures

  • News - Events
    of the
    Armenian, Coptic, Eritrean,
    Malankara, Syrian
    Eastern Orthodox Churches

    On The Street, the Gift Of Life

  • Our Attitude to the Foetus
  • Lee Gatis

  • Faith, Reason and Politically Correct Death
  • Francis J. Beckwith

    On The Churches, the mission to be one in Christ:

    Let us pray for one another
    remembering Cairo and Alexandria,
    Aremnia and Tripoli, Mogadishu,Rwanda,
    Kosovo, the Congo, Ivory Coast,
    Let us never forget
    The Holodomor and The Shoah ~

    Let us always see
    about us
    within us
    the womb of Christ


  • Oriental Orthodox Blog


    VIDEO 2010: Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches

    Photos in links above and below

    Benedict XVI greets Orthodox Brothers in Christ

  • OBL: Orthodoxy Beyond Limits
  • International Orthodox Christian News Blog.
    occasional traditionalisms, but usually reliable

    Indian Orthodox Christian News

  • Malankara Orthodox TV. Online News in Text and Photo

  • Indian Orthodox Herald Newspaper Blog

  • News from the Catholicate

  • click here: ICON -- Indian Christian Orthodox Network

  • new ICON videos: Liturgies Interviews Events

  • Indian-Orthodox.net

  • Ecological Commission

  • IOC North America:

  • NorthEast American Diocese of the Indian Orthodox Church

  • Northeast Clergy Retreat 2010
    Eastern USA Regional Conference 2010

  • SouthWest American Diocese of the Indian Orthodox Church

  • The NorthWest USA Regional Conference 2010

  • Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Student Movement (MGOCSM) all America and Canada


  • An introduction by Rev. Fr. Dr. George Pulikottil and Rev. Fr. Dr. Mathew C Chacko. We are entering into another Liturgical Year in the Indian Orthodox Church by celebrating Purification and Sanctification of the Church this November 2, 2008.

    Calendar Origins West and East

  • On the Origins of the Western Calendar
  • by Fr. Dale Johnson,
    excerpt courtesy Shroro Syriac Orthodox Christian Digest:
    How a Syriac Patriarch assisted the Gregorian Calendar's development
    by way of Syrian monk librarians
    helping Muslim scholars
    to read Greek geometry
    and the mathematics of Egypt and India...
    The original 9 member commission to reform the Julian calendar under Pope Gregory XIII:
    Christoph Clavius, German Jesuit
    Cardinal Sirleto,
    Vincentius Laureus Bishop of Mondovi
    Antonio Lilius (Giglio) doctor of medicine
    Petrus Ciaconus
    Seraphinus Olivarius, Vatican jurist
    Ignatius Dantes, Dominican friar (Ignazio Danti) and map maker
    Teofilus Martius, Benedictine monk
    and ...
    Ignatius Nemet Allah I, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch


  • Beth Gazo Music: Liturgical Chant of the Church
  • St. Mary's Malankara Orthodox Syrian Cathedral of Philadelphia

    Chant Resources at Malankara Indian Orthodox Church website
    Chant resources at Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Student Movement of All America and Canada

    Syriac Treasury of Chants: Beth Gazo d-ne`motho
    with links to the syrian modal system
    see also: Guide to the 8 Modes and this link for examples: SyriacMusic.com

    of the Church Year


    Beginning the Church Year of Feasts: an Advent of the Parousia
    Christ in the Spirit in the Church
    The Festal Calandar: an Apocalypsis of the Beginning and the End
    The Church Year as a typos of Pentecost and The Kingdom
    Sanctification Sunday and the Mysteries of the Kingdom
    Dedication Sunday and the Catholica

    Nativity Season
    New Year's Day and The Eighth Day, A.D. 2009
    Epiphany and Theophany
    Theophany: Cosmos - Temple - Communio

    Great Lent: Our Journey in His Baptism: the Revelation of the Waters of Theophany
    Re-Turning to Great Lent, 2009

    Paschal Season: Christ Our Pasch
    March 25: Annuciation and Ecclesia Orans
    • Ephrem on the Feast, Mary's fiat and Pentecost,
    • The Qurban of Christ in the Spirit in the Church:
    • Ecclesia Orans and the Mysteries of the Eighth Day
    Hosanna Sunday: The Bridegroom, The Wheat, The Veil
    The Easter Journey: a Liturgical Parousia of the Kingdom
    Resurrection 2010 AD
    Pascha 2009: Go to Gallilee, where you will see Him as He promised!
    Ascension of the Lord

    Pentecost, the Feast of the Church

    Pentecost 2010 AD
    Pentecost 2009 AD
    Pentecost re. The 8th Day
    Pentecost: Ascension to Epiclesis and Parousia

    Pentecost and the Heavenly Liturgy of the Church:
    Notes from Fr.B.Varghese "West Syrian Liturgical Theology":
    Pentecost and Eschaton: A Cloud of Wintesses"
    Pentecost: In-Gathering One Catholic Communio in Christ
    Pentecost: The Diptychs and The Last Things

    Transfiguration and Translation
    Transfiguration: Midsummer Vision of the Feast, The Icon, and the Journey upon the Holy Mountain
    Transfiguration: Epiphanic Light
    The Taboric Light as 4 Dimensions of the Eighth Day:
    • discipleship and beatitudes
    • communio and theosis
    • mystagogy and mysterion
    • sanctus and gloria
    More on The Transfiguration of the Lord
    Transfiguration Tradition: St. Makarios and Macarian Themes


    2010: Dormition and Translation of Theotokos, Assumption of Virgin Mother, Ascension of St. Mary
    2009: Ascension of St. Mary

    7 Sundays of the Holy Cross
    Holy Cross: The Crown of the Calendar Year and Salvation History in Christ

    NEW links re Indian Orthodox Sacred Art:

  • Mar Baselius School of Icon Writing & Liturgy
  • This School is a part of the Mar Baselius Catholicos Academy of Research (BACA) Kandanad East Diocese (Ernakulam District of Kerala State, South India)
    of the Malankara Orthodox Church,
    under leadership of His Grace Dr Thomas Mar Athnasius Metropolitan.
    The School aims at developing an Indian system of iconography
    as well as promoting icons in the entire Malankara Church.

  • Indian Orthodox Iconographer. VIDEO interview

  • Mural Traditions of Kerala Churches in India
  • Early iconographic images in the Indian Orthodox mileau. "The roots of the extant mural tradition of Kerala could be traced as far back as the 7th - 8th centuries A.D."

  • Kerala Church Architecture
  • various influnces, including Syrian Orthodox iconographic murals

  • The Stone Crosses of Kerala
  • There are two types of rock crosses in Kerala Churches broadly classified as St. Thomas cross and Nazraney sthambams.

  • Icons and the Oriental Orthodox Churches

  • Ethipiopian and Coptic Sacred Art

    Earliest Illustrated Bible Found In Ethiopian Orthodox Monastery

    See more Ethiopian sacred art here
    and coptic sacred art here
    and more coptic sacred art at the LA Coptic Diocese here
    and this Coptic page with extensive links
    See also various Coptic church images
    and this page from the Coptic Monastery of The Holy Virgin

    Seminarian News:

  • Our Malankara seminarians at St. Tikhon's Eastern Orthodox Seminary
  • Photos and Profiles of students and faculty, Young Adult Retreat, Visitors . . .

    Blessings upon our 2008 Graduating Seminarians Graduation Photos and links to the Theological Programs for our seminarians at St. Vladimir's Seminary and St. Tikhon's Seminary.

  • Our Malankara Orthodox Theological Seminary in India

  • Kottayam

  • New Site:

  • Nagpur
  • February, 2011: our seminary was blessed with the visit of HG Alexios Mar Eusebius, Metropolitan of SouthWest Diocese, USA, as our Retreat Father for the Three Day Lent.
    His Grace was accompanied by Dn. Gabriel from Spokane, WA. Formerly a faculty member, Eusebius Thirumeni has been for part of our seminary for a long time -- since its inception. He also held the position of Bursar and played a critical role in the growth of our seminary from its beginning.

    Recent Site Visits
    from Around the World

    green dots indicate 10 visits
    white dots indicate 10+ visits


    The 50th Day of Easter:
    Pentecost Sunday

    Pentecost – Harvest of the Holy Spirit
    (Edited excerpt adapted from Fr. James Puthuparampil OIC, Bethany Ashram:)

    The liturgy of Pentecost is one of the privileged occasions for us
    to bear witness to the axiom that the norm of prayer is the norm
    of faith ... lex orandi lex credendi.

    Since this understanding is deeply biblical in character, before dealing with the liturgical aspect, it would be good to highlight here Christ’s words about the person and activities of the Holy Spirit:
    If I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you;
    but if I go, I will send Him to you.
    Jn 16:7
    Read more, click here to full Pentecost post.

    Excerpt from Bishop Ware, "The Orthodox Way":
    Note the theological epiphanies through the Spirit:
    Baptismal Theophany;
    The Sciptural Word in the Church, cf Acts 2.42 re "the breaking of the bread and the prayers": Anaphora, Anamnesis, Epiclesis;
    Communio in the Name as "communio sanctorum" and "communio in sacris": Theosis as Christification of "our whole life in Christ" -- the Presence and Parousia of Emmanuel, God is with us!

    And thus:
    The Coming of the Holy Spirit: Pouring oil to overflowing
    "It has been said that the Orthodox Church is the Church of the Holy Spirit
    ... Every prayer, every liturgical and sacramental action of the Eastern Church is done through an invocation to the Holy Spirit. His Presence and Activity ... is truly the original Pentecostal Church.

    "Our mystical life is one of constant 'in-spiration' and our prayer life is our living link with the Spirit; ... which is, as the Fathers taught, the 'epiclesis of our Lord and Saviour' which we constantly call down on our souls to conform them to Christ.

    "In the Spirit, we become
    a community of priests, the Royal Priesthood,

    called upon to constantly invoke the sacramental and mystical Name of Jesus
    over ourselves and those around us
    and upon the entire world God has created.
    We do this as a priestly exercise to sanctify everything
    in Christ
    through the Holy Spirit
    to the Glory of God the Father."

    (end excerpt

    All icons, and particularly this Icon of Hospitality and the Holy Trinity, are a liturgical mystagogy of the Parousia and Judgement at the Eschaton.
    Written by the hand of St. Andrei Rublev some 25 years after he received the commission, the entire Icon mediates a sacramental epektasis of the Kingdom of God and the Heavenly Liturgy:
    the Eucharist at the Heart of the Trinity --
    the Eucharistic Life that is given us in the Original and Ongoing Pentecost of the Church of Christ that is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.

    Great Lent: The Crown of the Year

    the Crown of the Year

    The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian

    O Lord and Master of my life,
    take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency,
    lust for power, and idle talk.
    But grant unto me, Thy servant,
    a spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love.
    Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults,
    and not to judge my brothers and sisters.
    For blessed art Thou unto ages of ages.

    More on the Prayer of St. Ephrem

    Saint Ephrem's Hymns on Fasting

    On the Passion of the Saviour
    by Our Venerable Father Ephrem the Syrian:
    "One of the most interesting passages in the poem
    is that which describes the Holy Spirit as having come forth
    in the form of a dove and rent the veil of the Temple
    at the moment of the Lord's death":

    Likewise the Holy Spirit,
    who is in the Father,
    when he saw
    the beloved Son
    on the tree of the Cross,
    rending the veil,
    the temple’s adornment,
    suddenly came forth
    in the form of a dove.

    More texts by St. Ephrem

    Hagiography of St. Mary of Egypt
    From the Coptic Church:

    by prayer and fasting the disciples set forth the Great Commission,
    by prayer and fasting the martyrs offer their lives,
    by prayer and fasting in her lenten journey
    the Church receives the Crown of the Year

    From the Coptic monk Matthew the Poor:
    Monastery of St. Macarius in Wadi el-Natroun, Egypt:
    "The point to understand is that fasting is a divine act of life, which we receive from Christ complementary to baptism and fullness. Since its beginning the Church has been occupied with infusing into its own body the acts of Christ’s life so they would become life-giving acts to all its members." On Fasting by Matthew the Poor

    by St. John Chrysostom
    On Fasting
    Fasting is the change of every part of our life. . . Besides, we have a Lord who is meek and loving (philanthropic) and who does not ask for anything beyond our power. Because he neither requires the abstinence from foods, neither that the fast take place for the simple sake of fasting, neither is its aim that we remain with empty stomachs, but that we fast to offer our entire selves to the dedication of spiritual things, having distanced ourselves from secular things. If we regulated our life with a sober mind and directed all of our interest toward spiritual things, and if we ate as much as we needed to satisfy our necessary needs and offered our entire lives to good works, we would not have any need of the help rendered by the fast.

    More on The Crown of the Year

    by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev
    Christ the Conqueror of Hell
    The Descent of Christ into Hades in Eastern and Western Theological Traditions

    5 by Alexander Schmemann

    On Fasting and Liturgy

    Great Lent

    Of Water and the Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism

    For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy

    Church, World, Mission: Reflections on Orthodoxy in the West

    Other Lenten Reflections

    Armenian scholar Vigen Guroian:
    On Paradise, Pascha, and Springtime ~
    Links to Guroian essays and podcasts

    by the Czech president and poet Vaclav Havel, 1995
    Forgetting We Are Not God:
    What is lacking in the only meaningful way of dealing with future conflicts between cultures? Wherein lies that forgotten dimension of democracy that could give it universal resonance? I am convinced that it lies in what I have already tried to suggest-in that spiritual dimension that connects all cultures and in fact all humanity.

    by David B. Hart, 2003
    Christ and Nothing :
    Christ's sacrifice as 'Qurban': "The cross of Christ is not simply a sacrifice, but the place where two opposed understandings of sacrifice clashed. . ."

    Re-Turning to Great lent

    The First Sunday of Great Lent
    starts by commemorating the first miracle performed by Jesus:
    turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee.

    A common translation
    (NRSV) of Jn 2.3-4:
    When the wine gave out,
    the mother of Jesus said to him,
    “They have no wine.”

    And Jesus said to her,
    “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me?
    My hour has not yet come.”

    An english Peshitta translates the last line: "My turn has not yet come."

    Layers of meaning in such a turn of events
    in the words of the Word we "behold the man"
    recollecting the turns and transformations of His Hour:

    • the body of history and humanity that thirsts for salvation,
    • His Body that suffers Gabbatha and Golgotha,
    • His Body that gloriously lives as the Church;
    • His hour at Pentecost that will anoint and transform her with the Spirit anew, all within her own ongoing fiat to the promptings of the same Spirit who conceived Him in her body~
    Just as reception of the Holy Eucharist forms the Body of Christ in us,
    so too does celebration in the Liturgical Year form Christ in us,
    as we are also collectively transformed into the Body of Christ:
    from humble birth to the full stature
    of a human life transfigured
    in the Divine Light of Theosis, or Deification.

    --Excerpt from Kalapurayil
    essay below

    The Liturgical Year as a Transforming Parousia
    excerpts of essay by Joseph Kalapurayil, posted at St. Gregorios IOC, San Francisco.

    Just as reception of the Holy Eucharist forms the Body of Christ in us,
    so too does celebration in the Liturgical Year form Christ in us,
    as we are also collectively transformed into the Body of Christ:
    from humble birth to the full stature of
    a human life transfigured in the Divine Light
    of Theosis, or Deification.

    By following this cycle of the Church Liturgical Calendar, we can get into the rhythm and flow of the Christian story, to experience it, to learn it, to re-live it through the telling and the doing.

    Far from being simply a calendar, the liturgical year in the life of the Church is the life of Christians living in community as brothers and sisters - in awareness of God's kingdom, remembering the entire communion of Prophets, Apostles, Saints and all of God's people on Earth and in Heaven, being renewed by God's saving love, helping one another, witnessing Christ's good news, and waiting for the fullness of the coming Kingdom according to God's timing...

    In entering and participating in these eternally present events, we are changed; we are transformed. This allows us to proclaim with Saint Paul:
    I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.(Gal 2:20)

    But, there is a certain order to the Church’s presentation of the Gospel teachings and the primary events of our Sacred History.

    Sacred word and image comes alive in these services, offering the participant the greatest encounter with our Living Tradition.

    All this effort culminates in the ultimate goal of the Christian and the dynamic essence of the Liturgical Year: a means to bring about our UNION WITH CHRIST.

    The Church invites us, through our participation in the Liturgical Year, to re-live the entire life of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    We enter union with our Lord: in His Nativity, His growth in Nazareth, His ministry, passion, death, resurrection, ascension, and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. ‘Each liturgical feast renews and in some sense actualizes the event of which it is a symbol; it takes the event out of the past and makes it immediate. The liturgical year is, for us, a special means of union with Christ.’

    Just as reception of the Holy Eucharist forms the Body of Christ in us, so too does celebration in the Liturgical Year form Christ in us, as we are also collectively transformed into the Body of Christ: from humble birth to the full stature of a human life transfigured in the divine light of Theosis, or Deification. This is the path of sanctity, the path of sainthood.

    See Also Observing Great Lent essay by J. Kalapurayil