Jacob was born at Nisibis (''Antiochia Mygdoniae'') towards the end of the third century. According to St. [[w:Mar Awgin|Eugene (Augin)]],<ref group="note">"...tradition ascribes Persian monasticism to a certain [[w:Mar Awgin|Eugene (Augin)]], who brought it from the Egyptian desert, and founded the famous monastery of [[w:Mount Izla|Mount Izla]] near Nisibis in the early 4th century." (Fr. Dr. [[w:Adrian Fortescue (priest)|Adrian Fortescue]]. ''[http://www.archive.org/details/lessereasternchu00fortuoft Lesser Eastern Churches].'' London: Catholic Truth Society, 1913. p.43.)</ref> the
holy St. Jacob came from the tribe and the family of [[Apostle James the Just|St. James the brother of the Lord]].<ref name="ASOC">[[Church of Antioch (Syriac)|Antiochian Syriac Orthodox Church]]. ''[http://syrorthodoxchurch.com/english-Dateien/Page2149.htm St. Jacob of Nisibis].'' </ref> By some accounts he is said the have been nearly related to [[Gregory the Enlightener|Gregory the Illuminator]], the Apostle of Armenia.<ref group="note">However according to Jacob's biographical entry at CCEL: "The Armenians mistakenly call him the friend of Gregory the Illuminator." (Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL). ''[http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc06/htm/iii.lv.xvi.htm JACOB (JAMES) OF NISIBIS].'')</ref>
At an early age he devoted himself to the [[Monasticism|life of a solitary]], practicing the severest [[Asceticism|self-discipline]].<ref group="note">The celebrity that Jacob acquired by the strictness of his [[asceticism]] and his spiritual gifts, caused [[Theodoret of Cyrrhus|Theodoret]] to assign him the first place in his ''Religiosa Historia'' or ''Vitae Patrum'' - where he is entitled '''"Ο μέγας"''' ('''"the great"''') - in which his self-imposed austerities, and the miracles of which he was the reputed worker, are fully detailed.</ref> He liked the solitude and the peace of the [[Desert Fathers|desert]], and he lived in the mountains
, around the city of Nisibis, on the border of the Persian and Roman empires. In the summer he lived in crevices of the mountains, and in the winter he lived for a short time in a cave. His food was not what he had sown, but what grew there on its own, such as fruits from wild trees and green plants that grew in the desert. His clothing was made of hard goat's hair.
He always fed on spiritual food which came through [[prayer]] which also kept his thoughts pure. Through his asceticism, he gained a deeper connection with God. He had the gift of foresight, and by the grace of the [[Holy Spirit|Spirit]], he received the gift of miracles.
During this period of his life he went on a journey to Persia for the purpose of confirming the faith of the Christians there, who were enduring persecutions under [[w:Shapur II|Shapur II]]. [[Theodoret of Cyrrhus|Theodoret]] records several miracles as taking place at this time.<ref>Theod. ''Vit. Patr.'' pp.1110 sq.)</ref> In addition, [[w:Gennadius of Massilia|Gennadius]] reports that Jacob was
also a [[Saint titles|confessor]] during the [[w:Maximinus II (Daia)|Maximinian]] persecution as well.<ref>''de Script. Eccl.'' c.1.</ref>
[[Image:Mar Jacob Church--Nisibis.jpg|right|thumb|The newly excavated Church of Saint Jacob in Nisibis.]]
No writings of Jacob of Nisibis are known, although he
had been confused in the past<ref group="note">[[w:Gennadius of Massilia|Gennadius]] speaks of Jacob as a copious writer, and gives the titles of twenty-six different treatises of which he was the author.<br>:"These, or some of them, eighteen in number, were found by [[w:Giuseppe Simone Assemani|Assemani]] in the [[w:Mechitarists|Armenian convent of St. Anthony at Venice]]...The titles of these treatises - ''De Fide, De Dilectione, De Jejunio, De Oratione, De Bello, De Devotis, De Poenitentia, De Resurrectione,'' etc. - correspond generally with those given by [[w:Gennadius of Massilia|Gennadius]], but the order is different. In the same collection he found the letter of Jacob to the bishops of Seleucia and Ctesiphon, on the Assyrian schism. It is a lengthy document, in thirty-one sections, lamenting the divisions of the church and the pride and arrogance which were their cause, and exhorting them to study peace and concord. These were all published with a Latin translation and a learned preface establishing their authenticity and notes by [[w:Nicolò Maria Antonelli|Nicholas Maria Antonelli]] in 1756. They were also printed in the collection of the [[w:Mechitarists|Armenian fathers]], published at Venice in 1765, and again at Constantinople in 1824. The Latin translation is found in the ''Patres Apostolici'' of [[w:Armand-Benjamin Caillau|Caillau]], tom. 25, pp.254-543." (Sir William Smith. ''"[http://books.google.ca/books?id=7eItAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false JACOBUS (4) or JAMES bishop of Nisibis in Mesopotamia]".'' In: '''Volume 3 of A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines: Being a Continuation of 'The Dictionary of the Bible'.''' J. Murray, 1882. p.326.)</ref> with the fourth century Persian writer [[w:Aphrahat|Aphrahat]], who composed a series of twenty-three expositions or homilies on points of Christian doctrine and practice.
[[Image:Jacob Tomb--Nisibis.jpg|right|thumb|The tomb of Saint Jacob in the crypt of his church in Nisibis.]]
'''School of Nisibis'''<br>
Around A.D. 350 St. Jacob founded the [[w:School of Nisibis|School of Nisibis]], after the model of the school of [[w:Diodorus of Tarsus|Diodorus of Tarsus]] in Antioch, in which he himself was an instructor. When the Persians conquered Nisibis in 363, the School moved to Edessa, where it operated from 363–489.
The [[Venerable]] Bishop Jacob died peacefully in Nisibis, according to some in A.D. 338,<ref
>Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL). ''[http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc06/htm/iii.lv.xvi.htm JACOB (JAMES) OF NISIBIS].''</ ref><ref name="ASOC"/><ref name=" SOCA"/> and according to others in A.D. 350.<ref name=" BARTLEBY"/><ref name=" SMITH"/>
He was honourably interred within the city, in pursuance, it is said, of an express charge of [[Constantine the Great]] to his son Constantius, indicative of the reverance he held for him, that after death his [[Relics|hallowed remains]] might continue to defend Nisibis against its enemies.
* [http://www.aol.bartleby.com/210/7/111.html St. James, Bishop of Nisibis, Confessor] at Bartleby.com.
* [[w:Jacob of Nisibis|Jacob of Nisibis]] at Wikipedia.
ocafs. oca.org/ FeastSaintsLife. asp?FSID=100169 St James the Bishop of Nisibis] at OCA: Feasts and Saints.
* Sir William Smith. ''"[http://books.google.ca/books?id=7eItAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false JACOBUS (4) or JAMES bishop of Nisibis in Mesopotamia]".'' In: '''Volume 3 of A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines: Being a Continuation of 'The Dictionary of the Bible'.''' J. Murray, 1882.