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Saint Jerome

He was born around the year 347 in Dalmatia. As a young man he was highly educated and was baptized; during his journeys through Europe he became a priest. He then travelled to the Hold Land where he lived in the desert for four years, also visiting Syria, before finally arriving in Rome where Pope Damasus I chose him as his secretary and advisor. A year later he left for Bethlehem where he lived an ascetic life and from where he founded and ran his monasteries. Here also, he spent many years working on a translation of the Bible into Latin and also wrote commentaries on a number of books, commonly referred to as the “Vulgate” version; this work later became the official Church text. This work and other documents made him one of the greatest Christian theologians of all time. He died around the year 420 in Bethlehem. He tends to be portrayed as a grey-haired bearded man engrossed in his work and his attributes include a human skull and an hourglass, as well as sometimes a hat and a lion (legend has it that he pulled a thorn out of a lion’s paw in the desert and the animal became his devoted companion). He is the patron saint of ascetes, theologians, scholars and students, university and scientific institutions and protects against eye disease.

 

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