Bishop Jacob of Nisibis/Nusaybin (d. AD 350)

Called the “Moses of Mesopotamia,” Jacob was born in Nisibis, located about twenty-four miles (39 km) south of Midyat, near the modern Syrian border. Jacob pursued solitude with God in the desert and mountains. He ate only what grew naturally around him and wore clothes made of coarse goat’s hair.

Through his unbroken pursuit of God, he received the Holy Spirit’s power to perform miracles.

Jacob and monk Augin engaged in mission work on the Nisibis Mountain (Mount Izla). Together they performed miracles, healed the sick, and baptized many people in Jesus Christ. Jacob moved to Nisibis and served as the city’s second bishop for twenty-nine years, from 309 to 338. Because he lived a life full of compassion and mercy, he worked hard to help the opdpressed, those in need, orphans, widows, and the poor. Jacob made numerous pastoral visits to strengthen the Christians being persecuted in Persia.

Jacob and his close disciple, Ephrem, attended the first Ecumenical Church Council in Nicea in 325 and assisted in the writing of the first version of the Nicene Creed. Jacob founded the theological school of Nisibis. When the Persians conquered Nisibis in 363, the school of Nisibis was moved to Edessa (modern Urfa) and thrived under Ephrem’s leadership for twenty-six years, from 363 to 489. Jacob died around 350.

The Church of Bishop Jacob (Nisibis/Nusaybin)

The Church of Saint Jacob is located near the ruins of the school of Nisibis in the Turkish town of Nusaybin, near the modern Syrian border. Bishop Jacob’s sarcophagus is inside the church.