St. Jacob was born in the village of Ayndaba in the region of Antioch around 633. He studied the Bible, sciences, and Fathers of the Church in his home area before moving on to the Monastery of Qinnashrin to embrace the monastic life and study the Greek language and Greek literature under Severus Sabukht. At Qinnashrin he became well versed in philosophy, theology, and the Greek language and also in the ascetic life. After going to Alexandria to further his philosophical studies St. Jacob returned to Syria to live in Edessa and study Hebrew. There he achieved great fame due to his knowledge and scholarship.
In 627 St. Jacob was ordained a [[deacon]] and subsequently a [[priest]]. A little over a decade later, in 684, the Saint was consecrated Metropolitan of Edessa by Patriarch [[Athanasius II of Antioch]]. Due to his strictness in his episcopal oversight of Edessa the patriarch called on St. Jacob to be more lenient, but in response he resigned as metropolitan in 688 and left Edessa, settling in the Monastery of St. Jacob in Kesum near Samosata. Not long after the Saint accepted an invitation from monks in the region of Antioch to dwell at their monastery. During the following eleven years he taught the Greek language and the Holy Scriptures, eventually moving on to teach and translate the Old Testament at a monastery in Talada.