St. Ephrem of Syria was born circa 306. He converted to Christianity and was baptized at age 18. A deacon and preacher, he may have gone to the Council of Nicaea in 325. During a persecution of Christians in his land St. Ephrem led believers to Edessa, where he founded a school of theology. The saint fought Gnosticism and Arianism through the poems, hymns and homilies he wrote. He died in 373. In 1920, he was named a doctor of the church. St. Ephrem is patron saint of spiritual directors.