Ephrem was born in Nisibis, a Roman town on the Persian border, at the beginning of the fourth century. Nisibis, modern Nusaybin in South-East Anatolia, was an important commercial center with a mixed population and a somewhat cosmopolitan character. After the Romans handed the town over to the Sassanians in 363, Ephrem left Nisibis along with most of the Christian population and moved to Edessa, modern Urfa, where he died in 373.
The first Christian bishop of Nisibis, Jacob (active between ca. 303 and 338), founded an ecclesiastical school that was probably modeled after the Jewish schools of Mesopotamia, one of which had been founded in Nisibis just a few decades earlier. Ephrem grew up as a pupil of …
den Biesen, Kees. "Ephrem the Syrian". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 October 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5655, accessed 21 February 2017.]