On September 30 the Church celebrates the 1600 anniversary of the death of St. Jerome, the great translator of the Bible.
Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus was born around 342 AD, in Stridon, Dalmatia (present day Croatia or Slovenia). He was above all a Scripture scholar, translating most of the Old Testament from the Hebrew and his great achievement was the translation of the Bible called the Vulgate. No man before Jerome or among his contemporaries and very few men afterwards were so well qualified to do the work. Saint Augustine said of him, “What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known.” The Council of Trent declared the Vulgate the authentic text to be used in the Church.
Jerome was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldaic, and once served as private secretary to Pope St. Damasus. He traveled extensively in Palestine, marking each spot of Christ’s life with great devotion. He finally settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in the cave believed to have been the birthplace of Christ. There he died on September 30, 420. He is buried in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. He is patron, among several others, of Bible scholars, librarians and libraries, archaeologists, and translators.
Jerome was a strong, outspoken man, frequently remembered for his bad temper. He was swift to anger, but also swift to feel remorse, even more severe on his own shortcomings than on those of others.
As we celebrate this great milestone, let us ask his intercession that we may grow in love for Holy Scripture, remembering his saying: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” St. Jerome, pray for us!