The collect for today, the Feast of Saint Jerome (c. 342-420), Priest, Monk, Translator of the Scriptures, Doctor of the Church (source):
O Lord, thou God of truth, whose Word is a lantern to our feet and a light upon our path: We give thee thanks for thy servant Jerome, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we beseech thee that thy Holy Spirit may overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, may transform us according to thy righteous will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Born near Aquileia, northeast Italy, of Christian parents, Jerome travelled widely. He received a classical education at Rome and travelled to Gaul where he became a monk. He later moved to Palestine, spending five years as an ascetic in the Syrian desert. In 374, he was ordained a priest in Antioch. He then pursued biblical studies at Constantinople under Gregory Nazianzus and translated works by Eusebius, Origen, and others.
Travelling to Rome in 382, Jerome became secretary to the aged Pope Damasus. By the time the pope died three years later, Jerome had become involved in theological controversies in which he antagonised many church leaders and theologians. He left Rome under a cloud, returning to Palestine where he lived as a monk in Bethlehem for the rest of his life.
Over several decades, Jerome wrote biblical commentaries and works promoting monasticism and asceticism. Most importantly, he produced fresh Latin translations of most of the Old and New Testaments, based on the original biblical languages. This work formed the basis of the Vulgate, which remained the standard Scriptural text of the western church for over a millennium.
Artwork: Domenico Ghirlandaio, St. Jerome in his Study, 1480. Fresco, Ognissanti, Florence. Photograph taken by admin, 16 May 2010.