Tag Archives: St Jerome

St Jerome, priest and Doctor of the Church


St. Jerome was one of those guys who was hard to like and to get to know. I think he was irascible but was serious about his seeking God and had personal holiness. But that was in the fourth century and people had a different way of interpersonal relationships. It is clear from his biographers, Jerome was graced by great talent: priest, biblical scholar, well-travelled, secretary to a Roman Pontiff, ascetic, monastic founder, translator of the Bible and ecclesial writers and an apologist. Of particular note, Jerome was involved the theological controversies of his time: Arianism, the virginity of Mary, and the teachings of Origen.

Jerome studied and was baptized in Rome, then returned to his native Aquileia where he lived the ascetic life. He attended the lectures of Apollinarius and decided to live as a hermit in the Syrian desert around 374. He learned Hebrew, returned to Antioch and was ordained priest.

Jerome spent time in Constantinople before returning to Rome to become the secretary to Pope Damasus. Following the Pope’s death, went to Egypt, Palestine, and Antioch settling in Bethlehem. There he founded a new men’s monastery, and continued his scholar work.

Jerome is a good example of letting the Light shine brightly for the service of the Proclamation of the Gospel. In what ways does St. Jerome inspire you to be of service to Jesus Christ and the Church?


St Jerome

bigot-trophime-st-jeromeTypically remembered as curmudgeon, the Church remembers Saint Jerome, priest, monk and Doctor of the Church known for the depth of scriptural learning and his translation of the Bible into what we call the Vulgate, the Latin version of sacred Scripture. Among the many significant things Jerome was known for is his insistence on the necessity for Christians knowing the Old Testament.

The Church has experience with human nature an never fails to recognize the God-given mission of his people: Jerome is the patron saint of people with difficult personalities. You’ll notice many of the pictures of Jerome position him in the regalia of a cardinal (a position that did not exist in Jerome’s era) yet more realistic is his sacrificial life, the ascetic life for the training of all Christians to be in relationship with Christ Jesus, with others for the sake of building the Kingdom of God.

Historians tells us that Jerome was born around 340 as Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius in present-day Croatia, and homeschooled in the Christian faith from his father and later was sent him to Rome for instruction in rhetoric and classical literature. Pope Liberius baptized Jerome in 360.

Drawn to monastic and intellectual centers of the newly Christian empire (remember that Christianity had recently become legal), he set out to learn and be formed by a proper sense of culture (focussed on the Savior) and knowing the history, language, and sacred writ. His studied under Chromatius and Heliodorus, who were outstanding teachers of orthodox theology. Both were named saints.

Saint Jerome once said, “I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: ‘Search the Scriptures,’ and ‘Seek and you shall find.’ 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 Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”

Saint Jerome died in his Bethlehem monastery in 420.

Saint Jerome

Today we liturgically remember Saint Jerome (340-420). Because the sacred Liturgy is our first theology, let me quote the opening collect prayed at Mass:

O God, who gave the Priest Saint Jerome a living and tender love for Sacred Scripture, grant that your people may be ever more fruitfully nourished by your Word and find in it the fount of life.

And from the Communion collect:

…stir up the hearts of your faithful so that, attentive to sacred teachings, they may understand the the path they are to follow and, by following it, obtain life everlasting.

The controlling ideas the Church wants us to focus on are namely, that we have a living and tender love for Scripture with the hope that we would be nourished by it and find in Scripture a source of life. Likewise, our understanding this path we may enter into heaven. Christians: we are to walk toward the light of everlasting life. Indeed. Jerome is one of our guides in our study of Scripture.

Jerome was born in Dalmatia (present day Croatia). Having studied in Rome and he was baptized there before being ordained a priest in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. Recognizing his giftedness, Pope Damasus called Jerome to Rome to serve as his secretary; following the death Damasus, Jerome went East again, that is, Bethlehem, where he was active in building projects: a monastery, a hospice, and a school. His intellectual gifts were set on translating the Bible into the vernacular Latin. We still us Jerome’s biblical translation (with some revisions) today. His letters and commentaries on Holy Scripture still give insight. He is honored with being a Doctor of the Church.

And, likely his most famous line is noted in today’s Office of Readings from Jerome’s prologue of the commentary on Isaiah:

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 [others]: “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 Gods, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

10 Biblical Verses leading to Catholicity

Lord God, your words were found and I consumed them;

your word became the joy and happiness of my heart. (Jer. 15:16)

10 Biblical Verses that lead to a deeper, more vibrant Catholic faith:

1. Matthew 16:18-19 / Isaiah 22:22 (Authority)

2. 1 Timothy 3:15 (Authority)

3. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (Tradition)

4. 1 Peter 3:21 (Baptism)

5. John 20:23 (Confession)

6. John 6:53-58, 66-67 (Eucharist)

7. 1 Corinthians 11:27 (Eucharist)

8. James 5:14-15 (Anointing)

9. Colossians 1:24 (Suffering)

10. James 2:17- 26 (Works)

This is what you’ll call evangelical Catholicism: relying on the scripture base your faith. The first question we have to ask ourselves: What does Scripture reveal? These bible verse are ones it is said, that Protestants Cannot Accept (without becoming Catholic). Blessed feast of Saint Jerome, patron saint of biblical scholars.

Saint Jerome

Last Communion of St Jerome.jpg
Saint Jerome, patron of biblical scholars, pray for us.
We need to pray for the gift of final perseverance, as Jerome did.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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