Join "Maronites of the Whole World" on Facebook.



Saint Jacob, bishop of Nisibin

Saint Jacob was born in the city of Nisibin in Mesopotamia. And we read in his biography as recorded by the grand Theodoritos bishop of Qorosh, that “from his early age, Jacob showed a love for virtues and poor people. He was a brilliant hard working student that exceeded in studying the sciences of his time. Then he left the world to lead a solitary monastic life, consecrating his life to prayer and the practice of virtues; until his reputation as a holy miraculous hermit, traveled throughout the world.”

When the bishop of Nisibin died, Jacob was elected by the clergy and the people to succeed him in the year 319. He accepted to shepherd them as their bishop, but did not abandon his austere monastic way of life in the Cathedral, sticking to poor simple food and clothing. Doing always his best to consol the distressed, visit the sick, and take care of the needy, widows and orphans. He erected in Nisibin a great Basilica, wherein his body remains until nowadays.

He attended the Council of Necea 325, according to the Oriental Church historians, accompanied by his disciple Saint Ephrem, and other Eastern bishops, and was among the brightest and firmest in defending the Catholic teaching in that Council. In the year 334, Nisibin was sieged by countless troupes headed by king Saboor, who redirected a nearby river and managed to destroy part of the city’s walls, and was getting ready to invade it in the next morning, with plans to slaughter its people and burn it down. Faced with catastrophe at the gates, Saint Jacob spent his night in prayers mixed with tears, praying God to save his people. In the morning, Saboor got astonished to watch the city’s walls standing up undamaged, and more miraculously came their defeat as the Lord fought the king and his armies with lots of flies, as he did in the Old Testament against Pharaoh. In that same year 338, Saint Jacob slept in the Lord after a life filled with holiness and glories, wherefrom we still drink as out of running fountain. He wrote several works that are listed by Al’Semaani [circa 1730]. May his prayers be with us. Amen.