Ancient Syrian Hymn to the Light

To remember the early Church in Syria: within a few years of Christ’s death and resurrection, Saul was on his way to Damascus, commissioned by the High Priest to arrest Jesus’ followers there so that he “might bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:2). On that road to Damascus he underwent his extraordinary conversion experience. Saul as the renewed and enlightened Paul returned to Damascus after spending time in Arabia, and remained there for three years. Jesus’ followers were first called Christians in this city.

By the end of the first century, Christianity had spread to other parts of Syria, so that in AD 311 Lucian, the priest of Antioch, stated, “the greater part of the world now adheres to this Truth, yea whole cities.” Ephrem the Syrian was baptised around AD 320 and is best remembered today as a composer of hymns, with more than 400 hymns still in existence. ‘The lyrics of his songs helped to defend the faith against false doctrine, teach about various aspects of Christian belief, and give praise and worship to God. His glorious Hymn to the Light is an example, with its words of hope in the coming kingdom.’





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