SAINT JEROME – 30 SEPTEMBER

Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus (c. 347–420) is a confessor saint, a church father and one the four Doctors of the Catholic Church.

After Augustine, Jerome is the second most prolific of the patristic authors. A tireless scholar, he composed a large body of exegetical, theological, polemical and pastoral texts, all of which which were staples of medieval and early modem libraries. He made the first complete, Latin translation of the bible, the Biblia Sacra Vulgata, rendering the Hebrew Old Testament and the demotic Greek New Testament himself over the years 382-405. Of this monumental task he said:

I am not so stupid as to think that any of the Lord’s words either need correcting or are not divinely inspired, but the Latin manuscripts of the Scriptures are proved faulty by the variations which are found in all of them.

Jerome’s Vulgate is not without errors; his most notorious mistranslation gave rise to the depiction of the Horned Moses.

Depictions of Jerome in his study were popular among Renaissance scholars and humanists, in northern and southern Europe, who viewed the saint as a divinely-inspired exemplar of their own profession.

Jerome was also famous for his asceticism, celibacy, and the mortification of the flesh, which he practiced after a period of youthful debauchery and enjoined his fellow clerics and followers among the laity to do as well, not always with happy results.

Prosper of Aquitaine recorded Jerome’s death at the age of 73 on 30 September 420. Initially interred in Bethlehem, his relics were later translated to Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. He was canonized shortly after his death, although the prwfiser year is not known. In the Roman Catholic Church, his feast day is 30 September and he is recognized as the patron saint of translators, librarians and encyclopedists.

Jerome is traditionally depicted as a cardinal, but the cardinalate was formed in the 6th century, some 250 years after Jerome’s death, so he never wore the red hat which serves as an attribute in many depictions of the saint.

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