Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 2057
Jerome, presbyter in Bethlehem, explains to Presbyter Paulinus of Nola that it is impossible to be both a presbyter and a monk. Jerome, Letter 58, ca 395.
Letter 58 to Presbyter Paulinus of Nola
5. Quia igitur fraterne interrogas, per quam uiam incedere debeas, reuelata te cum facie loquar. Si officium uis exercere presbyteri, si episcopatus te uel opus uel honos forte delectat, uiue in urbibus et castellis et aliorum salutem fac lucrum animae tuae. Sin autem cupis esse, quod diceris, monachus, id est solus, quid facis in urbibus, quae utique non sunt solorum habitacula, sed multorum? Habet unumquodque propositum principes suos.
(ed. Hilberg 1910: 533)
Letter 58 to Presbyter Paulinus of Nola
5. Since you ask me as a brother in what path you should walk, I will be open with you. If you wish to take duty as a presbyter, and are attracted by the work or dignity which falls to the lot of a bishop, live in cities and walled towns, and by so doing turn the salvation of others into the profit of your own soul. But if you desire to be in deed what you are in name – a monk, that is, one who lives alone, what have you to do with cities which are the homes not of solitaries but of crowds? Every mode of life has its own exponents.
(trans. Fremantle, Lewis, and Martley 1893: 121)


It is hard to establish whether Paulinus sent his letter to Jerome before or after his presbyterial ordination at Christmas 394 (see [2055]).

Place of event:

  • Italy south of Rome and Sicily
  • East
  • Nola
  • Bethlehem

About the source:

Author: Jerome
Title: Letters, Epistulae
Origin: Bethlehem (East)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The large corpus of Jerome`s letters covers both great theological themes and personal issues. They are one of the most important sources for our knowledge of Christian life in the 4th-5th century.
I. Hilberg ed., Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Epistulae, Pars 1, Ep. 1-70, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 54, Vienna-Leipzig 1910.
St. Jerome, Letters and selected works, transl. W.H. Fremantle, G. Lewis, and W.G. Martley, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 6 Buffalo, NY 1893.


Writing activity - Correspondence
Impediments or requisits for the office - Monastic rule
Relation with - Another presbyter
Monastic or common life
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER2057,