Jacob of Edessa

Born on 640

Died on 708

Jacob of Edessa;

(or James of Edessa) (Syriac: ܝܥܩܘܒ ܐܘܪܗܝܐ‎, romanized: Ya’qub Urhoy) (c. 640 – 5 June 708) was one of the most distinguished of Syriac writers.

Jacob of Edessa was born in Aindaba (Arabic: عيندابا) at 50 km west of Aleppo, around 640. He studied at the famous monastery of Qenneshre (on the left bank of the Euphrates, and later at Alexandria.

On his return from Alexandria he became a monk at Edessa, where he was known for his learning. Ordained a priest in 672, he was appointed metropolitan of Edessa by his friend Athanasius II, Patriarch of Antioch. He held this office for three or four years, but the clergy opposed his strict enforcement of the Church canons. He was not supported by Julian II, the successor of Athanasius. In response to Julian’s suggestion that he temporize his criticisms, he publicly burned a copy of the neglected canons in front of Julian’s residence and retired to the monastery of Kaisum near Samosata. From there to the monastery of Eusebona where, for eleven years, he taught the Psalms and the reading of the Scriptures in Greek. Towards the close of this period Jacob again encountered opposition, this time from monks who despised the Greeks.