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E06357: Jerome mentions *Pamphilos (martyr of Caesarea S00140), and his collecting of Christian texts, in Letter 34 to Marcella, written in Latin in Rome, 384-5.

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posted on 2018-09-11, 00:00 authored by Philip
Jerome of Stridon, Letter 34.1

Beatus Pamphilus martyr, cuius uitam Eusebius Caesariensis episcopus tribus ferme uoluminibus explicauit, cum Demetrium Phalereum et Pisistratum in sacrae bibliothecae studio uellet aequare imaginesque ingeniorum, quae uera sunt et aeterna monumenta, toto orbe perquireret, tunc uel maxime Origenis libros inpensius persecutus Caesariensi ecclesiae dedicauit, [quam ex parte corruptam acacius, dehinc euzoius, eiusdem ecclesiae sacerdotes, in membranis instaurare conati sunt].

'Blessed Pamphilus the martyr, whose life Eusebius bishop of Caesarea unfolded in about three volumes, when he wanted to equal Demetrius Phalereus and Pisistratus in the study of the holy library sought images of talents which are true and eternal monuments, through the whole world, then eagerly pursued particularly the books of Origen, and gave them to the church of Caesarea, [since they were partly destroyed, Acacius, and then Euzoius, priests of that church, tried to restore them in parchment].'

Text: Hilberg 1996 (1910). Translation: Ferrante.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Pamphilos, martyr of Caesarea : S00140

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Jerome of Stridon

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Among the letters of Jerome there are 16 to the Roman ascetic noblewoman Marcella (and later saint), that can be subsumed under the name Ad Marcellam epistularum liber, an 'authorially assembled collection which, being the sum total of its parts, would have aimed to achieve specific propagandistic goals' (Cain 2009, 70). In Letter 34 Jerome explains two phrases from Psalm 127 to Marcella, 'bread of sorrow' (Ps 127:2), and 'the children the youth' (Psalm 126:4). Jerome, in his letters on philological issues concerning the text of the Bible, stresses how important it is to look at the original Hebrew text, by which he highlights his own and rare expertise. Jerome, who was heavily influenced by Origen's exegesis, uses the opportunity to lament that Origen's notes on the psalm are lost. He is interested in the martyr Pamphilos because of his bibliophilia and his scholarly merits, as he could be described as Origen's intellectual successor in Caesarea.


Though no cult activity is attested, the information about the books Pamphilos gave to the library in Caesarea is an interesting record of the saint's activity. Demetrius Phalereus (350-280 BC) and Peisistratos (600- 528/527 BC) were Athenians famous for their collection and codification of ancient Greek literary works.


Edition: Hilberg, I., Hieronymus, Epistulae 1-70 (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 54; Vienna, 1996). Translation: Ferrante, J., (accessed 12 Sept. 2018). Further Reading: Cain, A., The Letters of Jerome: Asceticism, Biblical Exegesis, and the Construction of Christian Authority in Late Antiquity (Oxford, 2009).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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