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Major Christian Saints, Bishops and Martyrs E - G

Ephraem (S)

Ephraem an important theologian and poet to whom we owe many hymns and religious songs, was born at Nisibis C. 306 and spent much of his life at Edessa (modern Urfa, Turkey) where he founded a famous theological school and died there C. 373. Ephraem's reputation comes from his writings and in particular his hymns for singing, which carry a didactic character and are directed against the false doctrines. Most of his songs were composed in Syriac which was his mother tongue, and still being read in Syrian Churches. His reputation even spread to the Western World, and the English hymns "Receive, O Lord, in heaven above" and "Virgin, wholly marvelous", are all translated from St. Ephraem's Syriac language hymns. He wrote many commentaries in a personalized way on the books of the Bible. His language, even if he wrote as a theologian, had a poet character. His works still hold an important place in the Syrian Churches. He was proclaimed by Pope Benedict XV in 1920, a doctor of the Church.
Euphemia (S)

Born at Chalcedon in C.307, on the opposite bank of the Bosphorus from Constantinople where the council meeting was held in 451. There are many references about her life, and also many places that claim to be the home for Euphemia. However, Chalcedon must be the most possible one as a church was built and dedicated to her there from very early times. Although, many stories have been told about her, it is hard to identify which one is her true story. All we know that she was probably martyred by having been thrown to the wild beasts during the emperor Diocletian's persecutions.
Euphrasia (S)

Euphrasia was a nun, and born in Cappadocia in C.382, and died in Egypt in C. 412. She and her widowed mother moved down to Tabbenisi, in Egypt. While they were, she was left by her mother, with some dedicated women and Euphrasia spent the rest of her life with these women. Upon her mother's death, she broke off her engagement (she was engaged with the son of a senator) and gave all the property away to poor people, that she had inherited, and isolated herself from the public.
Eusebius of Nicomedia (B)

Eusebius was born in Palestine in C. 263. He was the first to attempt a history of the church on a comprehensive scale. He made his way from place to place, trying to avoid persecutions and witnessed many martyrdoms, was himself imprisoned because of his faith. But, Constantine's decree that made Christianity official religion of the state, was the turning point in his life. First, he was made the bishop of Caeserea in Palestine, and later became a close friend of Constantine. His political and theological ideas helped to create Christian Byzantine Empire. His works "Chronicles" and "Church History" are invaluable source of information about the development of early Christianity. Of course, Eusebius wasn't the first to write the history of Christianity, but what makes his works special is that they are all complete.
Euthymius the Younger (S)

He was born near Ancyra (modern Ankara) in Galatia C. 824. Only after a year of his marriage he left his wife and baby, and went to Mt. Olympus in Bithynia (modern Bursa) to become a monk there. At the beginning he was happy there, but the rivalry between Ignatius of Constantinople and Photius disturbed this community here and Euthymius removed to Mt. Athos. He lived alone in a cave for three years, later he moved to a tower near Salonika, but had to leave it, because the curious crowds cam to hear his preaches. He re-founded a monastery at Peristera near Salonika, and only after this church was firmly in operation, he returned to Mt. Athos for a solitude life. He is known for his miraculous and super natural powers.
Flavian of Constantinople (MB)

He was one of the most unfortunate among the bishops of the Christian history. His birth place is unknown but we know that he died at Hypepe in Lydia western Asia Minor C. 449. Flavian was made archbishop of Constantinople in 446, but his position lasted only for three years and ended with his tragic death in a prison. His trouble began, when he degraded Euthyces from the priesthood because of his false teaching about the nature of Christ. Euthyces appealed to St. Leo the Pope and complained about what had been done to himself. St. Leo the Pope addressed a letter to Flavian to set out orthodox doctrine on the subject matter, later this letter came to be known as "Tome of Leo". The Emperor Theodisius II called a council meeting at Ephesus in 449, under the presidency of Dioscorus the archbishop of Alexandria. But, the proceedings of the council was so disorderly that Pope Leo labeled this council meeting "the Robber Band". Dioscorus supported Euthyces against Flavian, and soon after this meeting Flavian was deposed and exiled to Hypepe in Lydia and died right after his imprisonment. He was called a martyr, based on his death was direct result of his bad treatment by the Byzantine soldiers. St. Flavian was vindicated at the Chalcedon council meeting held in 451, and his body was brought back to Constantinople by St. Pulcheria.
Forty Martyrs of Sebastea (M)

This tragic story took place when the emperor Licinius commanded all Christians to repudiate their religion, forty soldiers of the twelfth legion (thunder struck), refused that. They were of different nationalities and at that time camped at Sebastea (modern Sivas, Turkey). All attempts to win them over failed and the commander of the army ordered that they should be stripped naked and herded on a frozen pond and kept there until they change their minds. To help break down their resistance, a fire was burned and warm baths prepared around the pond. By the next day, almost all of them were dead frozen, those who were not were killed, including Melito the youngest of soldiers who was encouraged by his widowed mother to the very last. Only one of the forty failed in the ordeal, and was replaced by another soldier who declared himself a Christian.
George St. (SM)

He is one the most popular saints in the Christian History. St. George is the patron of the Kingdom of England, of soldiers, and of numerous churches throughout the world. Despite his popularity, the information about his life is very limited. One of his widespread stories says he was a soldier saint and tortured and martyred at Nicomedia, during the emperor Diocletian's persecutions. Also the story from the book Golden Legend describes him as a Knight from Cappadocia. The legend told about him has gained so much popularity in the East, that people painted this legend on the church walls, especially in the Cappadocia Province. The Legend says, at the town Silene, now part of Libya was a dragon killing and eating people, upon hearing that the next meal was the daughter of the King, George flew down there, slain the dragon and saved the beloved daughter of the King.
Gerasimus (S)

He was born in Lycia, southwest Asia Minor, in the 5th C. He was the abbot of a local Christian community, he left his home in Asia Minor to visit local monks in the desert in Egypt, and on the way back settled near the Dead Sea in Palestine. Being theologically away from the proper course , he was put back on the right path by St. Euthymius the Great, and two became close friends. He established a communal monastery near by Jericho that attracted many disciples and monks. A lion is the symbol of St. Gerasimus.
Germanus of Constantinople (B)

His birth place is obscure, but for sure he died at Platonium. He was upgraded from the see of Cyzicus (modern Gemlik), a town on the Sea of Marmara to be the patriarch of Constantinople in 715, and 11 years later Emperor Leo III, published the first edict against the veneration of sacred images, that was the beginning of iconoclastic period. Germanus firmly opposed this edict and wrote in a letter "When we show reverence to representations of Jesus Christ, we don't worship that paint laid on wood, we just worship the invisible God in spirit and in truth". In 730, he was deposed and soon after he died in retirement at a very advanced age . A few of his works have survived to our day, among his works are six homilies on the Virgin Mary and some hymns, including the one translated as "A great and mighty wonder, A full and holy cure".
Gregory of Nazianus (S)

The great Theologian of the fourth Century was born at Arianzus, central Turkey in C. 329 and died near this town C. 389. He is one of the Church Fathers, and an active person in the Christian History. He received a good education at Athens along with his friend St. Basil. Contrary to his will to be a simple monk at a monastery, he was always given important missions and posts which he rejected some of them. When he was appointed by St. Basil, the bishop of Sasima, he chose to stay as assistant to St. Basil, rather than take this post. While he was at a Monastery at Seleucia, he accepted the job offered to him to be the bishop of Constantinople. On the other hand, this job was really hard one, as the Arians had a strong presence in Constantinople, because Arianism was long supported by some of the emperors, particularly by Valens. Then, Valens just died, but Arians were still powerful, so Gregory had to place his altar in the home of a friend, and called it Anastasis "the Resurrection". Gregory's anastatis altar was attacked and stoned by Arians at the eve of Easter. Only after 1 1/2 years of this incident, he was led in triumph by the Orthodox emperor Theodisius to his throne in St. Sophia. Upon complaints from some jealous bishops, he was called to defend himself at the council meeting. Too proud to fight for his position as a bishop, he retired to his home town Nazianus in Cappadocia and spent the rest of his life in peace. His eloquent preaching did so much to end the Arianism in the Country.


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