For example, Edessa, today the Turkish city of Urfa, which contains virtually no Christians, was once one of the primary centers of the faith, beginning possibly "before the end of the first century." (9) It holds the distinction of having been the capital of the first Christian state, Osroene
, whose king Abgar the Great, an Arab, converted to Syriac Christianity around 200.
Jones, ed., De temporum ratione, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 123B [Brepols, Belgium: Turnhout, 1977], 503); in Expositio acta apostolorum: "Iudas uero Iacobi, id est frater Iacobi, idem est qui in euangeliis uocatur Taddeus, missus que est Aedissam ad Abgarum regem Osroenae, ut ecclesiastica tradit historia" [Indeed, Jude, who is the brother of James, who is likewise called Thaddeus in the Gospels, was sent to Edessa to King Abgar of Osroene
, as the church history relates] (M.
The author also describes the strategic importance of Chalcis and the implications of the loss of the trans-Euphrates provinces, Mesopotamia and Osroene
. But more important is his sense that these events forced Heraclius to adopt measures, such as the replacement of civil governors by military commanders, that were a prelude to even more important institutional changes.
The little buffer state of Osroene
, on the Roman imperial frontier, was the early base of a remarkable Christian movement.