St. Jerome

Epistula ad Paulinum, 395 AD

St. Jerome, known as the first translator of the Bible into Latin, lived in Bethlehem from 386 onwards, together with the noble Paula accompanied by her daughter Eustochium and other followers, living a monastic life in the caves around the Grotto of the Nativity of Jesus. In a letter addressed to Paulinus of Nola, St. Jerome offers eyewitness testimony to the condition of Golgotha at the time of Aelia Capitolina:

“From the time of Hadrian to the reign of Constantine, a period of about one hundred eighty years, a statue of Jupiter stood on the site of the Resurrection, while a marble status of Venus was placed by the pagans on the rock of the Cross and became an object of worship. The authors of this persecution thought that by defiling the holy places with idols, they could take away our faith in the Resurrection and the Cross.”