Edessa and the Christian Kingdom of Osrhoene (Urfa, Turkey)

When the apostle Paul was engaged in his western missionary journeys from Antioch through Asia Minor and Greece, Christian missionaries were also traveling east across the Euphrates River—the border of the Roman empire—into Edessa (modern Urfa), the capital of the kingdom of Osrhoene. Osrhoene was one of the buffer states along the Euphrates River between the two warring empires of Rome and Persia.

Known as the “Blessed City,” Edessa became the primary center for Syriac Christianity. By the beginning of the 200s, Edessa was the center for missions into northern Mesopotamia, Persia, central Asia, China, and India. This early eastern mission movement is not recorded in the book of Acts and so many Christians remain unaware of this early eastern mission movement.