Posted by: Shawn Ragan | January 23, 2009

A Hymn of St Ephraim

St. Ephraim the Syrian

St. Ephraim the Syrian

From the Spiritual Psalter, from the holy works of  St. Ephraim the Syrian, excerpted by St. Theophan the Recluse.

Frightening and terrible is the day of Thy judgement, O our Savior, when secret sins will be revealed.  Therefore I tremble, O Lord, and am embraced by terror, for my sins have exceeded all bounds.  Be merciful to me according to Thy compassion, O good and kindhearted One!

I look, O Lord, at my sins and become agitated, seeing their multitude.  Alas, how did it happen that such misery has befallen me?  My tongue utters marvelous things, but my behavior is shameful and contemptible.  Woe is me in that day when secrets will be revealed!

Others find my words immensely beautiful, but my deeds are repulsive.  I teach others in the world how to order their lives; but I, who am an unfortunate one, myself indulge in the passions.

All my days have passed and vanished in sin.  I have not served truth for even one day.  As soon as I began to repent with the intent to sin no more, the evil one always came and trapped me through his hatred.  Woe is me, for voluntarily do I land in his snare.

If I go out for a walk, I step out like a righteous man, like a sage.  If I see another sinning, I mock and deride him.  Alas, my transgressions will likewise be exposed and I will be ashamed…

As soon as I vow to repent, I return again and fall into the very same sins.  The time I spend in sin gladdens me; I even think that I am doing something praiseworthy.  Woe is me!  Until now I never considered that gehenna awaits me.

An evil will leads me into sin, and wen I sin I lay blame on Satan.  But woe is me, for I bring about my sins myself.  The Evil One does not use force to make me sin; I sin according to mine own will.

Be kind to me, O Thou Who art kindhearted to the penitent!  Forgive me my transgressions according to the magnitude of Thy goodness.  Accept, O Lord, the tears I bring to Thee, and cleanse me from sin, as Thou didst cleanse the harlot.  I realize, O Lord, that I have sinned.  Spare me according to Thy compassion.

Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.  Amen.



  1. Thanks and God Bless

  2. […] of these thoughts on prayer came to a point when I read Shawn Ragan’s newest post, called “A Hymn of St Ephraim.” (Click on the link and take a moment to read the whole […]

  3. Hi,
    Do you the original source of the image of St Ephraim which you used here? I would like to know the artist and date this was created.
    Many thanks,

    • Unfortunately I do not. It was an image I had saved on a different computer. If I find it again, I will let you know.

      In ICXC,


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