Arbitrary manipulation of molecular recognition at the atomic level has many applications. However, systematic design and de novo synthesis of an artificial enzyme based on such manipulation has been a long-standing challenge in the field of chemistry and biotechnology. In this report, we developed an artificial RNA ligase by implementing a synthetic strategy that fuses a series of 3D molecular modelings based on naturally occurring RNA-RNA recognition motifs with a small-scale combinatorial synthesis of a modular catalytic unit. The resulting ligase produces a 3‧-5‧ linkage in a template-directed manner for any combinations of two nucleotides at the reaction site. The reaction rate is 106-fold over that of the uncatalyzed reaction with a yield higher than those of previously reported ligase ribozymes. The strategy may be applicable to the synthesis and development of a variety of nonnatural functional RNAs with defined 3D structures.