Edessa in Osroene
Arabic AL-ROHA; Syriac URHAI; Turkish URFA
Edessa or Urhai was the capital city of Osroene, long a buffer-state
between the Roman and Persian Empires. Tradition asserts that
King Abgar V the Black corresponded with the Saviour and was
entrusted with the Holy Mandelion, after which Osroene was
evangelised by St. Jude the Apostle, St. Jude of the Seventy,
or both. This story is usually rejected by modern historians;
some have thought it to result from a conflation of Abgar V
with Abgar IX two centuries later, although it is hard to see
how late III Century writers could have been thus confused about a king
reigning only a few generations earlier. The conversion of
either Abgar would make Osroene one of the first officially
In 216 Edessa was annexed by Rome, and it produced several
notable martyrs during the persecutions. It later became
one of the main centres of Christian theological study in the
Near East, remaining so centuries after the Arab conquest. Although
it is perhaps best known as the home-in-exile of the
Nestorian University of Nisibis in the IV and V Centuries,
it has been almost equally important at various times
to the Eastern Orthodox, the Jacobites, and the Armenians,
and was the nucleus of one of the Roman Catholic
---Norman Hugh Redington
Under construction --- far from complete! Read with caution.
From the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica:
The Abgar Dynasty in Chronological Order:
A kinglist, said to be from J. B. Segal's
- Walter Bauer:
[Orthodoxy and Heresy in] Edessa, (1934).
Chapter 1 of his
Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity
(Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971). Largely an attack,
not wholly convincing, on the existence of Christianity
in Osroene prior to the Roman annexation.
- H. J. W. Drijvers:
Edessa und das jüdische
--- Encyclopædia Iranica
Edessa in the Parthian Period.
Daniel R. Porter:
Ancient Coinage of Mesopotamia: Edessa.
Features images of Abgarid kings.
--- Wildwinds Coins
The Chronicle of Edessa.
Anonymous translation in
J. Sac. Lit., 4th Ser., 5:28 (1864).
St. Jacob of Serugh:
A Canticle on Edessa:
Likens the city of Abgar the Black to
the Shulamitess, "black but comely".
St. Jacob of Serugh:
Homily on Habib the Martyr:
Edessa, betrothed to Christ by her
king Abgar, glorious city of martyrs!
- St. King Abgar V:
His conversion is probably the most famous incident in
Edessa's long history.
- Martyrs (other than Apostles and Bishops):
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