Saturday, September 30, 2006
Saint Jerome, one of the four great Latin Doctors of the Church (the other three being St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and St. Gregory the Great), was the pre-eminent scholar and translator of Sacred Scripture in the history of the Church. He was the translator of the Vulgate version of the Bible.
St. Jerome was born in Dalmatia around 340-342 AD. Having grown up a wealthy pagan, Jerome visited Rome at about 20 and was converted and baptized. He went to study theology in the famous schools of Trier, and later set out to the Syrian desert in order to live as a hermit. He was ordained a priest in Antioch and at the age of 40 he went to Constantinople, where he met and befriended St. Gregory of Nazianzus (one of the four great Greek Doctors of the Church).
He became the secretary of Pope Damasus, who commissioned the Vulgate from him, which took him 30 years to write. His harsh temperament and his biting criticisms of his intellectual opponents made him many enemies in the Church and in Rome and he was forced to leave the city.
Jerome went to Bethlehem, established a monastery, and lived the rest of his years in study, prayer, and ascetcism. Jerome died at Bethlehem, September 30th, 420. He is the patron of Bible scholars.
St. Jerome once said, "I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: 'Search the Scriptures,' and 'Seek and you shallfind.' 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."
Patron: Archeologists; archivists; Bible scholars; librarians; libraries; schoolchildren; students; translators.
Symbols: Cardinal's hat; lion; aged monk in desert; aged monk with Bible.