Ephraem was born in Nisibis (Nusaybin), Syria, in 306 A.D. At a very young age he became a Christian and joined the monastic life. Later he was ordained deacon. During the Persian occupation of Nisibi he went to Edessa (Urfa), an important Syrian religious and cultural centre. A good speaker and scholar, he defended in his writings and sermons the catholic faith against some errors propagated by heretics. His hymns are still sung in the liturgy by the Syrian churches. He died in Edessa and is venerated as a Doctor in both Catholic and Orthodox churches on June 9 and January 28 respectively.