Yaʿqub Burdʿoyo Jacob Baradaeus (d. 578) [Syr. Orth.]

Bp. of Edessa (542–78) and missionary. Born in Tella, and educated in the nearby monastery of Phesilta. In 527/8 he was sent to Constantinople to look after the interests of the Miaphysites. In Constantinople Justinian’s wife Theodora had put the Palace of Hormisdas at the disposal of the considerable number of Miaphysite refugees who had gathered there. In 542/3, when the Ghassanid leader, Ḥārith b. Gabala, asked Theodora for some bishops to look after the non-Chalcedonian commmunities, Yaʿqub and Theodore were secretly consecrated in Constantinople by Theodosius, patr. of Alexandria, and were designated as bishops of Edessa and of (the Ghassanid) Ḥirta. Yaʿqub subsequently played an important role in providing for the pastoral needs of Miaphysite communities all over the Near East; often pursued by the imperial authorities, he travelled in disguise, whence his nickname burdʿoyo ‘(dressed in) saddle-cloth’, Hellenized as Baradaios (the back formation of ‘Bar Adai’ is due to a modern misinterpretation). Towards the end of his life he was much involved in the opposition to Pawlos of Beth Ukomo (Paul ‘the Black’; patr. from 564 to 577) and in the ‘Tritheist’ controversy.

The two main biographical accounts are: 1. Yuḥanon of Ephesus’ ‘Lives of Eastern Saints’, ch. 49–50 (ed. Brooks, PO 18, 488–95 and PO 19, 499–504); and 2. a longer anonymous Life (also in Brooks, PO 19, 574–614). The latter in particular attributes to him an exaggerated number of ordinations. Writing from a European perspective, and influenced by the subsequent hostile designation of the Syr. Orth. as ‘Jacobites’, Kleyn described Yaʿqub as ‘the founder of the Monophysite Church’. While undoubtedly he played a very important role, along with Theodore, in ensuring the survival of the Syriac (and other) communities who were opposed to the imperial religious policy which sought to impose the Chalcedonian Definition on the Church, he should better be seen as someone motivated primarily by pastoral concerns.

Nine letters written by him (sometimes alongside others) are preserved in a ms. containing a large number of miaphysite texts (ed. Chabot); other texts under his name are an Anaphora, a profession of faith, and a homily on the Annunciation preserved only in Arabic translation; the authenticity of the last two, in particular, is doubtful (the homily is also transmitted under the name of Patr. Nuḥ the Lebanese!).

His liturgical commemoration is on 31 July.

See Fig. 128.

    Primary Sources

    • J.-B.  Chabot, Documenta ad origines monophysitarum illustrandas (CSCO 17; 1908), 90–4, 144–5, 165–7, 179–80, 185–6, 187–9, 189–95, 196–204, 204–9. (Letters; LT in CSCO 103 [1933])
    • E.  Renaudot, Liturgiarum Orientalium Collectio (2nd ed. 1847), vol. 2, 332–46. (LT of Anaphora)
    • A.  Van Roey and P.  Allen, Monophysite texts of the sixth century (OLA 56; 1994), 267–303. (a guide in English to this important collection of texts)

    Secondary Sources

    • D.  Bundy, ‘Jacob Baradaeus, the state of research’, LM 91 (1978), 45–86.
    • W. H. C.  Frend, The rise of the Monophysite movement (1972), 285–293.
    • Th.  Hainthaler, ‘Aufbau der antichalcedonischen Hierarchie durch Jacob Baradai’, in Jesus der Christus, ed. Grillmeier and Hainthaler, vol. 2/3, 197–203.
    • Honigmann, Évêques et évêchés monophysites, 157–77.
    • H. G.  Kleyn, Jacobus Baradaeüs. De stichter der syrische monophysietische Kerk (1882).
    • V. L.  Menze, Justinian and the Making of the Syrian Orthodox Church (2008).
    • I.  Shahid, Byzantium and the Arabs in the sixth century, vol. I.2 (1995), 755–60, 768–74, 780–8, 798–802, 806–15.
    • W. A.  Wigram, The separation of the Monophysites (1923; repr. 1978), 133–79.


How to Cite This Entry

Sebastian P. Brock, “Yaʿqub Burdʿoyo,” in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay, https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Yaqub-Burdoyo.

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Sebastian P. Brock, “Yaʿqub Burdʿoyo,” in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018), https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Yaqub-Burdoyo.

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Brock, Sebastian P. “Yaʿqub Burdʿoyo.” In Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018. https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Yaqub-Burdoyo.

A TEI-XML record with complete metadata is available at https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Yaqub-Burdoyo/tei.

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