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Jerome, Against John of Jerusalem 37.407a-b


During the mid-390s St. Jerome was embroiled in the Origenist controversy with leading figures of the Church in the East. Following the open hostility between the bishops Epiphanius of Salamis and John of Jerusalem, Jerome opposed his bishop John on an accusation that amounted to heresy for his purported embrace of the teachings of Origen. In 397 Jerome sent a vehement and detailed essay to Pammachius, one of his noble Roman coterie, in part sustaining Epiphanius’ assault against John and in part defending himself against John’s specific complaints to Pope Siricius at Rome. Toward the end, Jerome rebukes John for appealing to Theophilus bishop of Alexandria against him, when in fact he should have recognized the authority of Caesarea and Antioch over the see of Jerusalem.


Tu qui regulas quaeris ecclesiasticas, et Nicaeni concilii canonibus uteris, et alienos clericos et cum suis episcopis commorantes tibi niteris usurpare, responde mihi, ad Alexandrinum episcopum Palaestina quid pertinet? Ni fallor, hoc ibi decernitur, ut Palaestinae metropolis Caesarea sit et totius Orientis Antiochia. Aut igitur ad Caesariensem episcopum referre debueras, cui, spreta communione tua, communicare nos noveras; aut si procul expetendum judicium erat, Antiochiam potius litterae dirigendae. Sed novi cur Caesaream, cur Antiochiam nolueris mittere. Sciebas quid fugeres, quid vitares. Maluisti occupatis auribus molestiam facere, quam debitum metropolitano tuo honorem reddere. Nee hoc dico, quod praeter amicitias, quae suspicionem generant, quidquam in legatione reprehendam; sed quia apud interrogantes magis et praesentes te purgare debueris.1

Textual Note

Ed. Migne 1883

Corrigenda Note

Minor corr. J. L. Rife


You who ask for ecclesiastical rules, apply the canons of the Council of Nicaea, and seize control over priests in another diocese and actually living with their own bishops, answer my question: what has Palestine to do with the bishop of Alexandria? Unless I am deceived, it is decreed in those canons that Caesarea is the metropolis of Palestine, and Antioch of the whole East. Therefore you ought either to appeal to the bishop of Caesarea, with whom you know that we have communion while we spurn communion with you, or, if judgement were to be sought from afar, letters ought rather to be addressed to Antioch. But I know why you were unwilling to send letters to Caesarea or to Antioch. You knew what to escape, what to avoid. You preferred to assail with your complaints ears that were preoccupied rather than pay due honor to your metropolitan. And I do not say this because I have anything to blame in the mission itself, except certain partialities which beget suspicion; I say this because you ought rather to clear yourself in the actual presence of your questioners.2

Translation Note

Adapted from Fremantle 1892

Works Cited

  • 1 Jerome, S. Eusebii Hieronymi Stridonis presbyteri opera omnia, ... tomus secundus, ed. J.-P. Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, series Latina 23 (Paris: Garnier, 1883), ch: 37, col: 407a-b.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 Jerome, Jerome: Letters and Select Works, trans. W. H. Fremantle, Philipp Schaff, and Henry Wace, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: A Select Library of the Christian Church, 2.6 (New York: Christian Literature Publishing, 1893)Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Additional Bibliography

  • Elizabeth A. Clark, The Origenist Controversy: The Cultural Construction of an Early Christian Debate, repr. Princeton 2016 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992)Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

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How to Cite This Entry

Joseph L. Rife, “Jerome, Against John of Jerusalem 37.407a-b,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, entry published October 19, 2022,


Joseph L. Rife, “Jerome, Against John of Jerusalem 37.407a-b.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife, Phillip I. Lieberman and David A. Michelson., edited by Joseph L. Rife et al.. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project, 2022. Entry published October 19, 2022.

About this Entry

Entry Title: Jerome, Against John of Jerusalem 37.407a-b

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
  • Joseph L. Rife, Phillip I. Lieberman, and David A. Michelson, editors, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
  • David A. Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editor, “Jerome, Against John of Jerusalem 37.407a-b
  • Joseph L. Rife, entry contributor, “Jerome, Against John of Jerusalem 37.407a-b

Additional Credit:

  • TEI encoding by William L. Potter
  • Electronic text added by Joseph L. Rife
  • Testimonia identified by Joseph L. Rife
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