Although his parents were strong Christians, Ephraim (or Ephrem), born in Nisbis, was thoughtless and rebellious in his youth. It was not until his antics bordered on crime and he was accused of theft that Ephrem began to repent of his ways, and he struggled for a while to truly repent, and not only fear punishment.
As a young man looking to change, he went into the wilderness to join a community of hermits. Under their guidance, he took to the life of a monk. He devoted himself to prayer, study, and writing. He composed hundreds of hymns, sermons, and apologetic works, and went on to teach outside his monastic community. He traveled for a period of his life and participated in the Church’s development, but he spent his final years in a cave in silence and solitude. He is commemorated on January 28.