The Order of Saint Jerome or Hieronymites (Latin: Ordo Sancti Hieronymi, abbreviated O.S.H.) is a Catholic cloistered religious order and a common name for several congregations of hermit monks living according to the Rule of Saint Augustine, though the inspiration and model of their lives is the 5th-century hermit and biblical scholar Saint Jerome.

The principal group with this name was founded in Spain in the 14th century. Their religious habit is a white tunic with a brown, hooded scapular and a brown mantle. For liturgical services, they wear a brown cowl.

Order of Saint Jerome
Escudo de la Orden de San Jerónimo
AbbreviationOrder of the Hieronymites (O.S.H.)
FormationLate 14th century
TypeCatholic enclosed religious order
HeadquartersOrden de San Jerónimo
Monasterio de Santa María del Parral
Subida al Parral, 2
40003 - Segovia, Spain

The Iberian Hieronymites

Segovia - Real Monasterio de Santa Maria del Parral 01
The Monastery of Saint Mary of Parral, the current headquarters of the Order of Saint Jerome.


Established near Toledo, Spain, the Order developed from a spontaneous interest of a number of eremetical communities in both Spain and Italy in imitating the life of Saint Jerome. This way of life soon became widespread in Spain. Two of these hermits, Pedro Fernández y Pecha and Fernando Yáñez y de Figueroa, decided it would be more advantageous to live a more regular way of life in a community, under an authorized monastic rule.[1]

Under their leadership, the Monastery of Saint Bartholomew was then founded in Lupiana, with Fernández y Pecha acting as the first prior. On 18 October 1373, Pope Gregory XI issued a papal bull recognizing them as a religious order, under the Rule of Saint Augustine. The Constitutions included the teachings of their patron saint. By 1415 there numbered 25 houses following this spirit; in that year, they were united by the pope and given the status of an exempt Order, free from episcopal jurisdiction.[2]

The Order, from its outset, enjoyed great favor from the king of Spain, and soon possessed some of the most famous monasteries in the Iberian Peninsula, including the Royal Monastery of Saint Mary of Guadalupe in Extremadura, Spain; the Royal Monastery of Saint Mary of Bethlehem in Lisbon, Portugal; and the magnificent monastery built by Philip II of Spain at El Escorial, in which the kings of Spain were buried.[3][4]

Though their way of life was very austere, the Hieronymites also devoted themselves to study and to active ministry, possessing great influence at the courts both of Spain and of Portugal. In the 16th century, they were a major supporter of the efforts of the Portuguese mystic, St. John of God, who established the nursing order in Granada bearing his name. They went to both Spanish and Portuguese America and played a considerable part in bringing Christianity to the peoples of the New World.

The Hieronymite nuns, founded in 1375 by Maria Garcias, also became numerous throughout the Iberian peninsula.[3]

Religious habit

Habit (Order of Saint Jerome)
The religious habit of the monks of the Order of Saint Jerome is white and includes the brown scapular.

The members of the Order (monks and nuns) adopted as their religious habit a white tunic with a brown scapular (similar to the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel used by the Carmelites) and a hood, over which is worn a brown mantle or cowl of the same color.[4]

American mission

The islands of the Antilles in the Caribbean were entrusted to them for pastoral care by Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, who sent a small party of three monks to Hispaniola. They were originally sent to deal with the issue of accusations against the Spanish colonists of atrocities against the native population. These charges had been most vocally leveled by the noted priest Bartolomé de las Casas, who was a secular priest at the time. They appear to have been ineffectual in preventing the abuses which de la Casas had charged.

The leader of the monks, Luis de Figueroa, was later named the third bishop of Santo Domingo in 1523, which at the time also included the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico. He died in 1526, before he could be consecrated as a bishop.[5] Another member of the Order, Juan de Arzolaras (or Alzóloras), served as the Archbishop of Santo Domingo (1566-1568), before being transferred to serve as the Bishop of the Canary Islands.

Modern era

Convento de Santa Paula
Entrance of the nuns' monastery of Saint Paula (Seville, Spain).

The men's branch of the Order declined during the 18th century and was completely suppressed in 1835 by the Spanish government.[3] At that time, there were 48 monasteries with about a thousand monks. The fate of the monastery buildings was varied. Most of them fell into ruins, others were given to other religious orders, still others became breweries, barns, or holiday homes.

According to canon law, only the Holy See may suppress a religious order, and the Holy See possesses the right to restore that order should it see fit, for up to a century.[6] In 1925, the Hieronymite nuns (who were not affected by the suppression) petitioned the Holy See for a restoration of the men's branch. This was granted, with a new community of monks being established at the Monastery of Saint Mary of Parral in Segovia. However, the troubles of the Republic of 1931 and of the subsequent Spanish civil war of 1936-1939 prevented any real progress until the general government of the Order was constituted in 1969.

As of 2012 one community of monks exists, that of Saint Mary of Parral, and 18 monasteries of nuns (17 in Spain and one in India). The Hieronymite Order is a monastic one, now purely contemplative. Through solitude and silence, assiduous prayer, and healthy penance, the Order attempts to bring its monks into closer union with God. The Hieronymite is conscious that the more intensely he dedicates himself to the monastic life, the more fruitful becomes the life of the Church as a whole. Hieronymites believe that their prayer can have a profound impact on the world outside the monastery.

This is the environment in which the life of the Hieronymite monk is developed, with the morning usually spent in manual work—the normal means of support for monks—while afternoons are dedicated to contemplation, prayer and study. Throughout the course of the day, the monks also gather for the singing of the Liturgy of the Hours as well as the celebration of the Eucharist. The Hieronymite strives to allow these moments of prayer to flow through his way of life, so that his goal is to express his life in complete charity towards all people.

Hieronymites believe this inwardly-directed manner of life is an exquisite and effective form of apostolic outreach. They believe that in the middle of a restless world, there are those who are called by God to spend some time living in monastic solitude. For this reason, Hieronymite monasteries readily welcome visitors who are guaranteed silence and prayerful support.[7]

As of 2010, there were 11 monks in the Order, of whom four were priests. This is down from a high of 21 monks in 1990.[8]

The nuns of the Order

Sor Juana by Miguel Cabrera
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Hieronymite nun of colonial Mexico

Alongside the Hieronymite monks, there are the Hieronymite nuns. They began in Toledo, Spain, when María García (+1426) and Mayor Gómez headed a group of women who began living lives of simplicity and prayer. Finally, they joined in a common life in order to consecrate their lives to God in prayer and penance. As a result of their community, in 1374, Fernández y Pecha, the prior of the original community of monks, founded the Monastery of Santa Maria de La Sisla near that city. He then looked after the women, guiding them and outlining for them a way of life similar to that of the monks.

This first foundation was the origin of the Monastery of Saint Paul of the "beatas de San Jerónimo", as they began to be called. Their continued observance of their rules and sanctity led to their spread in various places throughout the Iberian Peninsula and in New Spain. In 1585 in Mexico City, the convent of San Jerónimo y Santa Paula was founded.[9] Seventeenth-century Hieronymite Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was that convent's most famous member, known in her own era as "the Tenth Muse."

Other and ancient communities

  • Hieronymites of the Observance (or of Lombardy): A reform of the above, effected by the third general in 1424; it embraced seven houses in Spain and seventeen in Italy, mostly in Lombardy. It is now extinct.[3]
  • Poor Hermits of Saint Jerome (Pisa): Established near Pisa in 1377, this congregation established nearly fifty houses, of which only two survive, one in Rome and one in Viterbo, Italy.[3]
  • Hermits of Saint Jerome (Fiesole): The congregation of Fiesole was established in 1406. They had forty houses but in 1668 they were united with those of Pisa.[3]
  • Hermits of Saint Jerome (Stiavnicke Bane, Slovakia): The Hieronymites established a congregation in Štiavnické Bane (or Siegelsberg, Hegybánya) in 1733, then the Kingdom of Hungary. They are now extinct.[3]

Presence of the Order of Saint Jerome

El Parral claustro 03
Cloister of the Monastery of Parral (Segovia, Spain).
Francisco de Zurbarán 043
Saint Jerome with Saint Paula and Saint Eustochium (painting of Francisco de Zurbarán at National Gallery of Art in Washington).

Current communities of the Order of Saint Jerome in the world

Male communities (cloistered monks)

Women communities (cloistered nuns)

See also


  1. ^ "La Orden.La Orden de San Jerónimo". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  2. ^ "La Orden.La Orden de San Jerónimo". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Butler 1911, p. 454.
  4. ^ a b Besse 1910.
  5. ^ Cheney, David M. "Father Luis de Figueroa [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Code of Canon Law: text - IntraText CT". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  7. ^ "La Orden.La Orden de San Jerónimo". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  8. ^ Cheney, David M. "Orden de San Jerónimo (Institute of Consecrated Life) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  9. ^ Asunción Lavrin, Brides of Christ: Conventual Life in Colonial Mexico. Stanford: Stanford University Press 2008, 259.



  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainButler, Edward Cuthbert (1911). "Hieronymites" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 454. This work in turn cites:
    • Hippolyte Hélyot, T.O.R., Histoire des ordres religieux (1714), iii. cc. 57-60, iv. cc. 1-3
    • Max Heimbucher, Orden and Kongregationen (1896), i. 70
    • "Hieronymiten" in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie (ed. 3).
    • "Hieronymiten" in Welte and Wetzer, Kirchenlexicon (ed. 2).

External links

Amadeus of Portugal

Amadeus of Portugal, O.F.M., (1420–1482), was a Portuguese nobleman who became first a monk, then left that life to become a friar of the Franciscan Order. Later he became a reformer of that Order, which led to his founding of a distinct branch of the Friars Minor that was named after him, later suppressed by the Pope in order to unite them into one great family of Friars Minor Observants (1568).

His Apocalypsis nova, which contained prophecies of a pope, the "Angelic Pastor", who would work with an emperor to restore harmony in the church and the world, was influential well into the next century, in Rome and the monarchies of Spain and Portugal.

Antonio Soler

Antonio Francisco Javier José Soler Ramos, usually known as Padre ('Father', in the religious sense) Antonio Soler, known in Catalan as Antoni Soler i Ramos (baptized 3 December 1729 – died 20 December 1783) was a Spanish Catalan composer whose works span the late Baroque and early Classical music eras. He is best known for his many mostly one-movement keyboard sonatas strongly influenced by Domenico Scarlatti, which constitute a very important, quite underrated, contribution to the harpsichord, fortepiano and organ repertoire.

Armenian Rite

The Armenian Rite is an independent liturgy used by both the Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Catholic Churches. It is also the rite used by a significant number of Eastern Catholic Christians in Georgia.

Casiodoro de Reina

Casiodoro de Reina or de Reyna (c. 1520 – 15 March 1594) was a Spanish theologian who (perhaps with several others) translated the Bible into Spanish.

Convento de Santa Marta

The Convento de Santa Marta is a convent in Córdoba, Spain on Calle de Santa Marta. Founded in 1464, it belongs to the female branch of the order Hieronymites. Built in the "Reyes Católicos" style, it is characterized by its quadrangular nave covered by cross vaults, highlighting the altarpiece, made in the year 1582. The arch gives access to the cloister from the gallery, which is of the 15th century. Marian images also date to the 15th century. It has an altarpiece by the sculptor Andres Ocampo and the painter Baltasar del Águila, of the late 16th century. The roof of the church is made up of vaults. The entire complex is enclosed with a short wall.

Cristobal de Vera

Cristóbal de Vera (1577–1621) was a Spanish painter.

He was born in Córdoba, where he probably initially studied under Pablo de Céspedes. In 1602 he moved to Castile. He became a lay brother of the Hieronymites at their monastery in Lupiana, in the region of Grenada. There he painted eight Stations of the Cross for the cloister. His nephew, Juan de Vera, also a painter, had commenced his novitiate in their monastery of La Sisla near Toledo, when he was there visited by his uncle Cristóbal. At the end of the year Juan left the monastery without joining the Order; but Cristóbal remained to paint two altar pieces for the church, a St. Jerome and a St. Mary Magdalene. He died soon afterwards at La Sisla and was buried in the monastic cemetery there.

His community at Lupiana recorded their memories of him as a pious and dedicated monk. Apparently his preference was to study and work at night, so he was rarely to be seen in daytime.

Dionisio Nencioni di Bartolomeo

Dionisio Nencioni di Bartolomeo (1559, Florence - 1638, Naples) was an Italian architect, mainly active in Naples, to which he moved in 1584. He worked on the Hieronymite church from 1587 until his death, in collaboration with Giovanni Antonio Dosio.In 1607 he took part in the competition to design the Royal Chapel of the Treasure of St. Januarius, alongside other architects working in Naples such as Francesco Grimaldi, Giovan Battista Cavagna, Giulio Cesare Fontana, Michelangelo Naccherino, Giovan Giacomo Di Conforto, Giovanni Cola di Franco and Ceccardo Bernucci, but his design did not win. In 1612 he worked on the Gesù e Maria Complex and from 1604 to 1632 as one of the architects of San Giuseppe dei Ruffi. In 1631 he made some assessments of the work already done at certosa di San Martino. He spent his final years finishing working on the Gerolamini church (even joining the Hieronymites himself in 1637), which was only completed in 1639.

Hernando de Talavera

Hernando de Talavera (Talavera de la Reina, Spain, 1428 – Granada, Spain, 14 May 1507) was a Spanish monk of the Order of Saint Jerome, of converso origins, who became Archbishop of Granada and confessor of Queen Isabela.

Jerónimos Monastery

The Jerónimos Monastery or Hieronymites Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Portuguese pronunciation: [muʃˈtɐjɾu ðuʃ ʒɨˈɾɔnimuʃ]), is a former monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome near the Tagus river in the parish of Belém, in the Lisbon Municipality, Portugal; it was secularised on 28 December 1833 by state decree and its ownership transferred to the charitable institution, Real Casa Pia de Lisboa.The monastery is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon. It was classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Tower of Belém, in 1983.

List of World Heritage sites in Portugal

The UNESCO World Heritage sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972. Portugal adopted the convention on 30 September 1980, making its historical sites eligible for inclusion on the list.Sites in Portugal were first inscribed on the list at the 7th Session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Florence, Italy, in 1983. Four sites were added: the "Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroísmo in the Azores", the "Monastery of Batalha", the "Convent of Christ in Tomar", and the joint inscription of the "Monastery of the Hieronymites and the Tower of Belém in Lisbon". As of 2018, Portugal has 15 sites inscribed on the list, 14 of which are cultural and one is natural, according to the selection criteria. Three sites are located in the Azores and Madeira archipelagos, while one is shared with Spain. The most recent inscription is the University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia site in Coimbra, during the 37th Session in Phnom Penh.

Luis de Figueroa

Luis de Figueroa, OSH (died March 23, 1523) was a Roman Catholic monk who served as co-governor of Santo Domingo (1516–1519) and bishop elect of Santo Domingo but died before his consecration.

Monastery of Santa María de Toloño

Santa María de Toloño, also known as Our Lady of los Ángeles, is a ruined Spanish monastery located in the Sierra de Toloño near Labastida, Álava. Constructed by the Hieronymites, the monastery was destroyed in the First Carlist War and only a few walls remain.

Monastery of la Murta

The Monastery of Santa Maria de la Murta is a former monastery of the order of the Hieronymites located in the Valley of La Murta in Alzira (Valencia), Spain.Throughout its history was an important emporium of culture and spirituality and centre of pilgrimage of the royalty, the aristocracy and influential religious characters. It was acquired by the City Hall of Alzira in 1989, and from 1995, is in recovery and restoration both the convent and its environment of La Murta Valley.

Order of the Most Holy Annunciation

The Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (Latin: Ordo SS. Annuntiationis), also known as the Turchine or Blue Nuns, is a Roman Catholic religious order of contemplative nuns formed in honour of the mystery of the Incarnation of Christ at Genoa, in Italy, by the Blessed Maria Vittoria De Fornari Strata.

Pope Clement VIII approved the religious order on 5 August 1604, placing it under the Rule of Saint Augustine.

At present, the order has monasteries in Brazil, France, Italy, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, and Spain.

Patriarchate of Lisbon

The Patriarchate of Lisbon (Latin: Patriarchatus Olisiponensis) is a Metropolitan Archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church based in Lisbon, national capital of Portugal.

Its cathedral archiepiscopal see is the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major, in Lisbon. The Patriarchate also has three Minor Basilicas: the Basilica of Our Lady of the Martyrs and Basilica of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Estrela, both in Lisbon; the Basilica of Our Lady and St. Anthony in Mafra; and two World Heritage Site monasteries: the Monastery of the Hieronymites, in Lisbon, and the Monastery of Saint Mary of Alcobaça, in Alcobaça

Portrait of Brother Gregorio Belo of Vicenza

Portrait of Brother Gregorio Belo of Vicenza is a 1547 oil on canvas painting by Lorenzo Lotto, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is inscribed bottom right "F. Gregorr belo de Vicentia / eremite in Hieronimi Ordinis beati / fratri Petris de Pisis Anno / etatis eius LV, M.D.XLVII". Its subject was a Hieronymite monk and so the image's iconography draws on that of the penitent St Jerome.

It is recorded in Lotto's own commonplace book as commissioned on 9 December 1546 by its subject and completed in October 1547. Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg acquired it in Venice in 1738 for 26 zecchini as a work by Paolo Veronese and it remained in his family until being sold to its present owner in 1965. It was only correctly attributed to Lotto in a post-1924 catalogue of the Schulenburg family collections.

San Leonardo de Alba de Tormes

San Leonardo de Alba de Tormes was a monastery near Alba de Tormes in Spain. It was suppressed in the 19th century.The date of San Leonardo's foundation is uncertain. It may be referred to in the fuero given to Alba de Tormes in 1140, although the latter only mentions a garden named San Leonardo. The monastery was founded as a mixed Praemonstratensian community of monks and nuns, most likely in 1154 by the Emperor Alfonso VII. Alfonso granted the lordship of Alba de Tormes to Sancho, the abbot of Retuerta, the father house of San Leonardo. In 1164 the nuns were removed and the foundation became male-only. In 1168 some monks from San Leonardo left to found the monastery of La Caridad in Ciudad Rodrigo. The house of San Miguel de Groz in Portugal was also a product of San Leonardo until it was absorbed back into it as a dependency in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. The convent of Santa Sofía de Toro was probably a daughter house, since its necrology lists many of the abbots of San Leonardo. One abbot, Fernando, attended the Council of Basel in 1434 as part of the Spanish Praemonstratensian delegation.In 1439, on account of the relaxed discipline prevailing there, San Leonardo was turned over to the Hieronymites by the archbishop Gutierre Álvarez de Toledo, who was also lord of Alba. Sources disagree whether he was acting on orders from Pope Eugene IV, or on his own initiative. The historian of the Hieronymites, José de Sigüenza, cited a papal bull of 2 February 1442 authorising a new foundation with Hieronymites from the monastery of Montamarta. In 1446 the transfer was confirmed by a bull of Nicholas IV, now in the national archives. The ceremony was performed by the archdeacon of Medina on 7 November 1447 in the presence of Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, the first count of Alba. Numerous members of the House of Alba were eventually buried in San Leonardo.

Sant'Onofrio, Rome

Sant'Onofrio al Gianicolo is a titular church in Trastevere, Rome. It is the official church of the papal order of knighthood Order of the Holy Sepulchre. A side chapel is dedicated specifically to the Order and a former grand master, Nicola Canali is entombed there.

The church contains memorials of Torquato Tasso, the author of Gerusalemme Liberata, the epic poem that retells the deeds of the crusaders who fought to regain possession of the Holy Sepulchre itself. After wandering all over Italy, the poet requested and obtained shelter at the monastery of Sant’Onofrio and spent the last years of his life there.

It was built in 1439 on the site of an ancient hermitage, as part of a cloistered monastery of the Hieronymites that existed here from the 15th-16th century. Behind the Renaissance portico are three lunettes by Domenichino, painted in 1605, commemorating the hermits who lived here and depicting scenes from the life of St Jerome. The church also contains The Madonna of Loreto by Agostino Carracci (his only work in a church in Rome) and frescoes of Scenes from the Life of Mary, attributed to Baldassare Peruzzi.

The first chapel to the right has an Annunciation by Antoniazzo Romano and an Eternal Father attributed to Baldassarre Peruzzi. The second chapel has frescoes and stuccoes (1605) by Giovanni Battista Ricci with an altarpiece of the Madonna di Loreto by pupils of Annibale Carracci. Next to the main altar is a Monument to Giovanni Sacco attributed to the school of Andrea Bregno with frescoes of St. Anne Teaching the Virgin to Read by a painter of the Umbrian school. The sacristy ceiling has frescoes by Girolamo Pesci, while the walls have a Peter of Pisa by Francesco Trevisani. The apse has frescoes of the Stories of Mary attributed to Peruzzi by Vasari. In the third chapel on the left, is a monument of the Cardinal Filippo Sega with a portrait by Domenichino. In the second chapel is a Trinity fresco on the ceiling by Francesco Trevisani. In the first chapel to the left, is a monument to Torquato Tasso (1857) by Giuseppe De Fabris.

The attached cloister was added in the mid-15th century and has frescoes by the Cavaliere d'Arpino (Giuseppe Cesari) and others with scenes from the life of Saint Onuphrius. It was in this cloister that the poet Torquato Tasso died on April 25, 1595, the evening before he was to be crowned with laurels on the Capitoline Hill. The monastery houses the Museo Tassiano of manuscripts and editions of his work. Its collections also include his death mask.

Since the 1950s, the church has been under the care of the American congregation of Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, which is their only community in continental Europe.

Superior (hierarchy)

In a hierarchy or tree structure of any kind, a superior is an individual or position at a higher level in the hierarchy than another (a "subordinate" or "inferior"), and thus closer to the apex. In business, superiors are people who are supervisors and in the military, superiors are people who are higher in the chain of command (superior officer). Superiors are given, sometimes supreme, authority over others under their command. When an order is given, one must follow that order and obey it or punishment may be issued.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.