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St. Aphraates

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Feastday: April 7
Death: 345

A Persian hermit involved in the struggle against the Arian heresy. Aphraates was born on the Persian border with Syria. He converted to Christianity and became a hermit in Edessa moving in time to Antioch, Turkey. His hermitage attracted many, and miracles were reported. When Aphraates spoke publicly against the Arians, servant of Emperor Valens tried to murder Aphraates. When the servant died suddenly, Valens took the death as a sign from God and protected Aphraates, refusing an Arian request to exile the hermit. Aphraates is sometimes identified as the bishop of the monastery of Mar Mattai, near Mosul Mesopotamia. Possibly a martyr, he is believed to have written a many-volumed defense of the faith called the Demonstrations, which is the oldest extant document of the Church in Syria. Aphraates is often referred to as "the Persian Sage."


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