The Luminous Eye is a concise introduction to the mystical writings of Syria’s favourite monk, St Ephrem the Syrian. Universally revered in the east, his poetry has encapsulated the spiritual eye of generations of Orthodox Christians. The poetry of St Ephrem and his hymns are a wonderful re-working of Scripture endowed with the spiritual vision of the patristic mind and a living testimony to the living stream of this holy tradition. St Ephrem’s writings are at once both simple and complex, although the simplicity at timescould betray to the undiscerning mind the rich tapestry of theological reflection interwoven as great themes collide in his work.
The Luminous Eye is another Cistercian Publication, who are to be commended for translating and publishing a number of rare patristic books from the original languages such as “Pachomian Koinonia” from the Coptic. Whilst the “Luminous Eye” acts as good general introduction to the work of St Ephrem, SVS Press have previously published St Ephrem’s “Hymns on Paradise” perhaps some of his most beautiful work – which is to be reccommended to go into greater depth through his hymns in sequence rather than in the format in “The Luminous Eye” where only portions are quoted and then expounded by the author.
However you encounter him, St Ephrem is one of the great and often underestimated writers of the patristic era. Well worth reading on a nice day outdoors in the company of creation!