Saint of the Day – 30 August – St Pammachius (c 340 – 410 at Rome, Italy of natural causes) – Senator, Monk, Apostle of Charity, friend of St Jerome.
St Pammachius was a distinguished Christian layman who lived in the fourth century. As a young student, he had become friends with St. Jerome. They remained friends all their lives and kept an ongoing correspondence. His wife was Paulina, the second daughter of St. Paula, another good friend of St. Jerome. When Paulina died in 397, St Jerome and St Paulinus of Nola wrote deeply moving letters filled with sympathy, support and the promise of prayers.
On Paulina’s death in 397, Pammachius became a monk, that is, put on a religious habit and gave himself up to works of charity.He spent the rest of his life serving in the hospice he and St Fabiola built. There pilgrims coming to Rome were welcomed and made comfortable. Pammachius and Fabiola willingly accepted and even preferred the poor, the sick and the handicapped.
St Pammachius was much more gentle with his words and ways than the fiery St Jerome. He often suggested to Jerome that he soften or reword his letters but Jerome usually did not. For example, a man named Jovinian was teaching serious errors. Jerome wrote a harsh essay exposing Jovinian’s errors. Pammachius read the essay and made some good suggestions about rewording the overpowering expressions. St Jerome thanked his friend for his concern but did not make the corrections. Pammachius also tried to heal a quarrel between his friend St Jerome and a man named Rufinus. ut it does not seem that he could move Jerome to become more mild in his handling of the person or issues. In 401 Pammachius was thanked by St Augustine for a letter he wrote to the people of Numidia, where he owned property, exhorting them to abandon the Donatist schism. Many of St Jerome’s commentaries on Scripture were dedicated to Pammachius.
St Pammachius had a Church built in Rome. Today it is the Passionist church of Saints John and Paul. He died in 410 as the Goths were taking over Rome.