Our father among the saints Ephraem of Peć (also Jefrem, Ephrem, or Ephraim the Bulgarian, Serbian: Свети Јефрем патријарх пећки и српски) was the Patriarch of Serbia two times: from 1375 to 1380, and then from 1389 to 1390. His feast day is celebrated on June 15/28, together with St. Lazar and St. Spyridon.
Ephraem was born in 1322 in Bulgaria with the name of Jefrem into a priestly family. As the son of a priest, Ephrem from an early age yearned for a spiritual and ascetical life. He fled to Mount Athos when his parents wanted him to marry. Later, he returned and lived a life of asceticism in the Ibar gorge and in the Decani Monastery in Kosovo. Patriarch Sava IV built an ascetic cell for him in Ždrelo near the Peć Monastery. When rivalry and war broke out concerning precedence in the State and, unfortunately, even in the Church, the Synod chose Ephraem to succeed the deceased Sava as patriarch on October 3, 1375. When he was informed of his election, he wept bitterly but was unable to refuse the election. He managed to save the Church from interference from feudal lords by renouncing his throne and turning it over to Spyridon. He again withdrew to the wilderness. Following the death of Spyridon in 1389, Prince Lazar begged him to accept the throne again. He governed the Serbian Church until 1390 during the difficult time following the Serbian defeat at Kosovo in 1389. He again renounced the patriarchal see in 1390 and retired in Ždrelo.
Ephraem died in the eighty-eighth year of his earthly life. His relics were buried at the Monastery of Peć by Patr. Sava V. He was glorified by Patr. Daniel IV in 1407. Bp. Marko wrote the Service to Saint Ephraem and Life of Saint Ephraem, Patriarch of the Serbs.
|Patriarch of Serbia|