The Development of the Hieronymite Order


The Order was established in Toledo, Spain, and was then recognized in 1373 by Pope Gregory the XI. By 1415, they had already been able to establish 25 houses. The order was able to spread rapidly across Spain and Italy because of the popularity of St. Jerome during the 14th century. This was due to people seeing his teachings as consistent and orthodox, during a period of upheaval after the Black Plague. The order was established in Italy in the 14th century, and by the 16th century had worked their way up to 40 houses across Italy at their Peak. It was in 1415 that they were removed from ordinary jurisdiction and made an exempt order. After that they spread to Portugal, and in 1501, the Jeronimos Monastery in Belem was established and built by King Manuel I. That Hieronymite monastery was where the House of Aviz, the Royal family of Portugal was then buried. Spain followed suit in 1559, with the building of El Escorial in Spain, which would be where many Spanish Royals were buried, both from the house of Bourbon and the House of Hapsburg. Both sites are UNESCO world Heritage sites, along with another Hieronymite monastery, Santa Maria de Guadalupe. In 1595, the Spanish and Portuguese orders were combined into one singular order. During the height of their power, they also participated in the evangelization of the New World with Spain and Portugal, spreading their influence to the colonies of both empires.

Excerpted from Studies in Venetian Art and Conservation, 2008. “Saint Jerome and His Order.” Save Venice Inc., Save Venice,

“Hieronymites - Encyclopedia Volume - Catholic Encyclopedia.” Catholic Online, Catholic Online,