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E06473: Jerome describes how Paula travelled through Palestine in 385 and visited Caesarea where she visited the house of *Cornelius (the centurion who baptised Peter, S00301) and the house of *Philip (the Deacon and Evangelist, S00604); Letter 108, written in Latin in Bethlehem (Palestine), 404.

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posted on 2018-09-12, 00:00 authored by Philip
Jerome of Stridon, Letter 108.8 ('Epitaphium Sanctae Paulae')

Mirata ruinas Dor, urbis quondam potentissimae, et uersa uice Stratonis turrem ab Herode, rege Iudaeae, in honorem Caesaris Augusti Caesaream nuncupatam, in qua Cornelii domum Christi uidit ecclesiam et Philippi aediculas et cubiculum quattuor uirginum prophetarum.

'She [Paula] marveled at the ruins of Dor, once a very mighty city, and at what once had been Strato's Tower, which Herod king of Judea named Caesarea in honor of Caesar Augustus. Here she saw Cornelius' house, a church of Christ, as well as Philip's small house and the room occupied by the four virgin prophetesses.'

Text: Hilberg 1996 (1912). Translation: Cain 2013.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Cornelius, the centurion baptised by Peter in Acts : S00301 Philip, the Apostle : S00109 Philip the Deacon and Evangelist : S00604

Saint Name in Source

Cornelius Philippus Philippus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Bethlehem Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Jerome of Stridon

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)


In the second half of 404 Jerome composed an Epitaph for his late friend and patron, Paula, transmitted to us as letter 108. The work depicts Paula as an example for ascetic women and bears features of a hagiography. Paula died on 26 January 404 in Bethlehem. She was the descendant of a Roman aristocratic family, who traced their lineage back to the Gracchi and Scipiones. She was dedicated to the western ascetic movement and had spent more than twenty years by the side of Jerome of Stridon, whom she had followed with her daughter Eustochium to the Holy Land in 385, where they founded a monastery and a convent in Bethlehem. Paula was not only Jerome's most faithful companion, but also his biggest sponsor. Jerome's Letter 108.8-13 describes Paula's pilgrimage through the Holy Land, which lasted from late winter 385 to late spring 386.


One part of the epitaph, from which this extract is taken, describes Paula's journey to holy places, especially to those in Palestine, but also elsewhere. Cornelius, whose house Paula visited, was the Roman centurion whom the Apostle *Peter (S00036) converted to Christianity in Caesarea, along with all his household (Acts 10:1-48). Philip, was Philip 'the Evangelist' who appears several times in the Acts of the Apostles, first as one of the seven deacons of the church of Jerusalem (Acts 6:5). He later moved to Caesarea, where the Apostle *Paul (S00008) stayed with him and his daughters, to whom the power of prophesy was attributed (Acts 21:8-9). Philip the Evangelist was often confused, even very early, with *Philip the Apostle (S00109). Some scholars believe that they were in fact the same person.


Edition: Hilberg, I., Hieronymus, Epistulae 71-120 (Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 55; Vienna, 1996). Translation and commentary: Cain, A., Jerome's Epitaph on Paula: A Commentary on the Epitaphium Sanctae Paulae, (Oxford, 2013). Further Reading: Bovon, F., De vocatione gentium: Histoire de l'Interprétation d'Act. 10.1-11.18 dans les six premiers siècles (Tübingen, 1967). Matthews, C.R., Philip: Apostle and Evangelist: Configurations of a Tradition (Leiden, 2002).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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