St. Ephrem born at Nisibis in Mesopotamia of a pagan father, was cast out of his home and lived as a hermit in the desert. He never became a priest but was a deacon of the Church of Edessa. From early times, because of his opposition to the Arians, he had been famed as a teacher of the Universal Church; not only the Syrians, but the Byzantines, the Slavs, the Armenians, and the Copts had incorporated in their liturgical books the melodious compositions of the celebrated Deacon of Edessa, who was called in consequence by the Eastern Church the “Lyre of the Holy Spirit.”
Sts. Mark and Marcellianus were twin brothers, of an illustrious family in Rome. They gave their lives for Christ in 286, under the persecutions of Diocletian, after suffering cruel torture. According to the Acta of St. Sebastian, Mark and Marcellianus, after having fearlessly confessed the Christian Faith in the midst of torments, were on the point of denying it after the tearful visit of their parents who came to visit them in prison. Thus we see how a great a danger to the souls of the Religious is to be found in unrestrained family affection.
(Adapted from The New Roman Missal by Father Lasance)
St. Avitus was a native of Orleans, France. He became a monk, together with St. Calais, in the very small abbey of Menat. The two Saints later returned to the famous abbey of Misey, situated a league and a half below Orleans. It was founded toward the end of the reign of Clovis I. by St. Euspicius, a holy priest, and his nephew St. Maximim or Mesnim, whose name this monastery bears.