Ephrem was born in Mesopotamia around the year 306. He was baptized when he was eighteen. Ephrem eventually went into the hills and became a hermit. He found a cave near the city of Edessa in Syria. His clothes were just patched rags and he ate what the earth provided.
Ephrem became angry easily. He gradually gained control over himself. People who met him thought he was just naturally very calm. He often went to preach in Edessa. When he spoke about God's judgment, the people wept. He would tell them that he was a great sinner. He really meant it, too, because although his sins were small, they seemed very big to him. When St. Basil met him, he asked, "Are you Ephrem, the famous servant of Jesus?" Ephrem answered quickly, "I am Ephrem who walks unworthily on the way to salvation." Then he asked and received advice from St. Basil on how to grow in the spiritual life.
Ephrem spent his time writing spiritual books. He wrote in several languages-Syriac, Greek, Latin and Armenian. These works are so beautiful and spiritual that they have been translated into many languages. They are still read today. Ephrem also wrote hymns for public worship. These hymns became very popular. As the people sang them, they learned much about the faith. That is why he is called "the harp of the Holy Spirit." Because he was such a great teacher through his writings, in 1920 he was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church.
Ephrem died in June, 373.
"Lord, in your sacrament we daily embrace you and receive you into our bodies; make us worthy to experience the resurrection for which we hope. We have had your treasure hidden within us ever since we received baptismal grace; it grows richer at your sacramental table."-St. Ephrem