Bishop Jacob of Edessa (Urfa) (AD 500-578)
Jacob became the bishop of Edessa (modern Urfa) and worked tirelessly for thirty-six years, from 542 to 578, rebuilding the Monophysite church of Syria and the East. To escape the notice of the Roman
authorities, he traveled throughout Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia disguising himself by wearing rags for clothes. Hence his nickname, ”Hobo Jake.” He encouraged the faithful, ordained bishops, and performed miracles. He healed the sick and even raised the dead.
Although empress Theodora supported Jacob and the Monophysites, emperor Justinian enforced Nicene orthodox Christianity based on the Chalcedon Creed and did all he could to eliminate Monophysite Christianity. Jacob emerged as one of the most important bishops in the history of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Jacob died at a monastery in July 578 at the age of seventy-three.