Our Righteous Father '''Jacob of Nisibis''', also ''' ''James of Nisibis'' ''', ''' ''Jacob the Great'' ''', ''' ''Jacob of Mygdonia'' ''',<ref group="note">'''[[w:Nusaybin|Antiochia Mygdonia]]''' was a Seleucid colony in ancient Mesopotamia; in the classical Roman period it was known as '''Nisibis'''; today it is the Turkish town of '''Nusaybin'''.</ref> or ''' ''Mor Ya`qub'' ''', called the "[[Moses]] of Mesopotamia"<ref name="SOCA">Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch: Archdiocese of the Western U.S. ''[http://www.soc-wus.org/ourchurch/St.%20James%20of%20nisibis.htm St. James (Jacob) bishop of Nisibis, July 15].''</ref><ref name="SMITH">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> for his wisdom and wonderworking abilities, was the second bishop of Nisibis,<ref group="note">"The See of Nisibis was founded in 300 by Babu (d. 309). His successor, the celebrated St. James, defended the city by his prayers during the siege of Sapor II." (Siméon Vailhé. ''"[http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Nisibis Nisibis: Titular Archdiocese of Mesopotamia]".'' '''Original Catholic Encyclopedia'''. 1913. El Cajon, California: Catholic Answers. Retrieved 2011-01-22.)</ref> [[Geronta|spiritual father]] of the renowned Syriac writer and theologian [[Ephrem the Syrian]], celebrated [[Asceticism|ascetic]] and one of the 318 fathers of the [[First Ecumenical Council]] at Nicaea.
His [[feast day]]s in the [[Orthodox Church]] are [[January 13]] and [[October 31]].<ref group="note">In the [[Roman Catholic Church]] his feast day is [[July 15]]; in the [[Church of Alexandria (Coptic)|Coptic]] Synaxarion it is held on the 18th day of the [[w:Month of Tobi|Month of Tobi]] (usually [[January 26]]); the [[Church of Armenia|Armenians]] observe his feast on [[December 15]]; and the [[Church of Antioch (Syriac)|Syrians]] on [[May 12]] and [[July 15]].</ref>
[[Image:Mar Jacob Church--Nisibis.jpg|right|thumb|The newly excavated Church of Saint Jacob in Nisibis.]]
After leading a severe life in the mountains of Kurdistan with St. [[w:Mar Awgin|Eugene (Augin)]], the founder of Persian monasticism, he became the second bishop of Nisibis in 309. Upon the vacancy of that see, which was his native city, Jacob was compelled by the demand of the people to become their bishop. He was then forced to exchange his desert life with life in the city. Although he moved to the city, he changed neither his food, nor his asceticism, nor his simple clothing. In his new position, he worked especially to help the oppressed, those in need, orphans, widows and the poor, for he
greatly feared [[Jesus]], the Lord of Hosts.
His episcopate, according to Theodoret, was signalized by fresh miracles. A similar tale is told of him as with [[Gregory the Wonderworker|Gregory Thaumaturgus]]<ref>Greg. Nyss. ''Vit. Greg. Thaumat.''</ref> and [[w:Epiphanius Scholasticus|Epiphanius]],<ref>Soz. vii. 27; Theod. ''u. s.'' p. 1112.</ref> that is, his meeting with two beggars, one of whom while feigning death to impose on him, actually died by divine judgment.<ref group="note">One day as he was travelling, he was accosted by a gang of beggars who had concerted a plot whereby to impose upon the servant of God, with the view of extorting money from him on pretence to bury their companion, who lay stretched on the ground as if he had been dead. The holy man gave them what they asked, and ''“[[Memorial Services|offering up supplications to God as for a soul departed]], he prayed that his divine majesty would pardon him the sins he had committed whilst he lived, and that he would admit him into the company of the saints,”'' says Theodoret. As soon as the saint was gone by, his companions calling upon him to rise and take his share of the booty, were strangely surprised to find him really dead. They rushed to St. Jacob, begged him, kissed his hands and feet, confessed their evil deeds and intentions, and begged his forgiveness. As he accepted their apology and petition, he prayed for the deceased, who then rose again.</ref>
'''Death of Arius'''<br>
The sudden death of the heresiarch [[Arius]] at Constantinople, on the eve of his anticipated triumph, A.D. 336, is attributed especially to the [[Prayer|prayers]] of Jacob of Nisibis.<ref>cf. the ''Synaxarium ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae'' [''=Propylaeum ad ASB, Novembris''], ed. H. Delehaye, Brussels, 1902, [[January 13|Jan. 13]].</ref> This theme is repeated in the Syriac and Roman Martyrology, which state that the prayers of Jacob and [[Alexander of Constantinople]] were responsible for the death of Arius and his "bowels gushing out". This tradition has been
criticized however.<ref group="note">According to one source:<br>
:"...That on this emergency he had exhorted the faithful to devote a whole week to uninterrupted [[fasting]] and public supplication in the churches, rests only on the authority of one passage, in the ''Religiosa Historia'' of [[Theodoret of Cyrrhus|Theodoret]], the spuriousness of which is acknowledged by all sound critics. The gross blunders of making the death of the heresiarch contemporaneous with the Council of Nicaea, and of confounding [[Alexander of Alexandria]] with [[Alexander of Constantinople]], prove it to be an ignorant forgery. In the account of the death of [[Arius]] given by Theodoret, in his ''Ecclesiastical History'', from Athanasius (Theod. ''H. E.'' i. 14; Soz. ''H. E.'' ii. 20.) no mention is made of Jacob in connection with the death of Arius; and he is equally absent from that given by [[Athanasius of Alexandria|Athanasius]] in his letter to the bishops." (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>
The [[West Syrian Rite|Liturgy]] which bears the name of Jacob of Nisibis (Syriac Liturgy of St James), said to have been formerly in use among the Syrians,<ref>[[w:Abraham Ecchellensis|Abr. Ecchell.]] ''Not. in Catall. Ebed-Jesu,'' p.134; [[w:Giovanni Bona|Bona]], ''Liturg.'' i.9;</ref> is certainly not his, but is
rather to be ascribed to [[Jacob of Serugh|James of Sarug]].<ref>[[w:Eusèbe Renaudot|Renaudot]], ''Lit. Or.'' tom. ii. p.4.</ref><ref group="note">The Syro-Antiochene ("Jacobite") Rite was gradually enriched with elements of Aramaic origin, especially the poetic compositions attributed to St. [[Ephrem the Syrian]] or to [[Jacob of Serugh|James of Sarug]]. (Aimé Georges Martimort, Pierre-Marie Gy, Pierre Jounel. ''[http://books.google.ca/books?id=MEY6gL8qu4QC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false The Church at Prayer: Principles of the Liturgy].'' Liturgical Press, 1987. p.32.)</ref>
'''Protection of Nisibis'''<br>
[[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.
By his high moral stature he made a strong influence on the hearts of his students.<ref name="S.V.BULGAKOV"/> When the Persians conquered Nisibis in 363, the School was moved to Edessa and re-establised there by St. [[Ephrem the Syrian]], where it operated from 363–489.