Roman Christian Priest, Doctor of the Church
“(…) I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: ‘Search the Scriptures, and Seek and you shall find’. Christ will not say to me what he said to the Jews: ‘You erred, not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God’. For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ (…)”.
Saint Jerome, whose real name was Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus, was born at Stridon – close to the Pannonian border (Hungary) – around 340. His parents sent him to Rome to pursue his studies. There was he baptized by Pope Liberius at the age of 25.
In 379 he was ordained priest by Paulinus, Bishop of Antioch. Soon afterward, he went to Constantinople to study Greek, in order to be able to write one of his most important works, the so-called Vulgate, i.e. the first Latin translation of the Bible. It was then chosen by the Church as official version.
Jerome was appointed assistant of Pope Damasus in 382. During these years he went on with his translation of the Gospels. At the end of 384 he moved back to the East.
Since 390 and for the next 23 years he worked on his masterpiece, i.e. his version of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew text. Jerome died in Bethlehem around 420.
Thanks to his wide knowledge, his commentaries on the Holy Scriptures, and his fight against heresy, he was recognized as Doctor of the Church and Patron Saint of Translators and Scholars.
“(…) For I myself not only admit but freely proclaim that in translating from the Greek (except in the case of the holy scriptures where even the order of the words is a mystery) I render sense for sense and not word for word. For this course I have the authority of Tully who has so translated the Protagoras of Plato, the Œconomicus of Xenophon, and the two beautiful orations which Æschines and Demosthenes delivered one against the other (…).”
Due to his devoutness, fight against moral decay and exemplary life Saint Jerome is often compared to Saint Francis.
In 1409 the Guaschi Family had his remains transferred to the chapel of Saint Jerome in Rome. An altar was built specially for that. Afterwards Pope Sixtus V ordered the demolition of the Chapel of Saint Jerome, in order to build The Sistine Chapel. The remains of the Saint were recovered in 1747 and finally transferred to the Pope’s Altar. A relic of Saint Jerome is exhibited at the Church of Sant’Onofrio al Gianicolo in Rome.
(Translated from: Giovanni Sicari. Reliquie Insigni e “Corpi Sant”’ a Roma. Rome: Alma Roma, 1998)
- “Audience with Pope Benedict XVI, 7/11/2007, on Saint Jerome (1)”. Musei Vaticani.
- “Audience with Pope Benedict XVI, 14/11/2007, on Saint Jerome (2)”. Musei Vaticani.
- San Girolamo – Cathopedia;
- “Saint Jerome”. Wikipedia.