The Roman Minute: Jerome and the Lion


Find out how St. Jerome gets a pet--and why he's always wearing red.


Salvete omnes! I'm Lindsey Scholl and welcome again to The Roman Minute, where you can sample a little bit of Rome in around a minute. I recently gave a talk on Christian art and was reminded again how much there is to discover. Today, I want to introduce you to one of my favorite stories: St. Jerome and the Lion. 

Jerome was a scholar who lived in the 400s, and he is most famous for the first polished translation of the Bible into Latin, which we call the Vulgate. He was also an early monk and spent a lot of time contemplating human weakness and God's strength. For this reason and others, the medieval and Renaissance artists loved to paint Jerome--and usually with a lion at his feet. According to legend, he was working in the monastery one day, and a lion limped in. The other monks were frightened and fled. But Jerome stayed calm and noticed that the lion had a thorn in its paw. The lion, who was in great pain, allowed the saint to remove the thorn, and they became fast friends. By the way, if you're wondering why Jerome is wearing red a lot, that's because he's usually dressed as a cardinal, although that church office didn't exist in his day.

So look for a man with a pet lion, and also wearing red, and you'll find Jerome. I'm Dr. Lindsey Scholl, bringing you The Roman Minute and wishing you Pax Christi