Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

An opponent of Christian asceticism in the fourth century, condemned as a heretic (390). Our information about him is derived principally from the work of St. Jerome in two books, "Adversus Jovinianum". He was a monk at one time in his life, but subsequently an advocate of anti-ascetical tendencies. He became the head of a party, and in the act condemning him Auxentius, Genialis, Germinator, Felix, Prontinus, Martianus, Januarius and Ingeniosus are designated as his disciples. His views were promulgated in writings which were condemned at a synod held in Rome under Pope Siricius, and subsequently at a synod convened at Milan by St. Ambrose. The writings of Jovinianus were sent to St. Jerome by his friend Pammachius; Jerome replied to them in a long treatise written in 393. From this work it would appear that Jovinianus maintained

  • that a virgin as such is no better in the sight of God than a wife;
  • abstinence is no better than the partaking of food in the right disposition;
  • a person baptized with the Spirit as well as water cannot sin ;
  • all sins are equal;
  • there is but one grade of punishment and one of reward in the future state.
From a letter of the synod at Milan to Pope Siricius (Ambrose, Ep. xlii) and from St. Augustine (lib. I contra Julian., ii) it is clear that Jovinianus denied also the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The reply of St. Jerome was couched in language that terrified Pammachius, who found fault with it because it was excessive in praise of virginity and in depreciation of marriage. The efforts to suppress it failed and St. Jerome's work obtained a wide circulation. Nothing is known of the later career of Jovinianus. From a remark in St. Jerome's work against Vigilantius, written in 409, that he "amidst pheasants and pork rather belched out than breathed out his life", it is inferred that he was then dead.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart
  • Bet you've never seen a space rocket do THIS!
  • UPDATE: Did the U.S. military actually know they were bombing the ...
  • Daily Readings for Friday, November 27, 2015
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • St. James Intercisus: Saint of the Day for Friday, November 27, 2015
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 6:12-28
12 These men came along in a body and found Daniel praying and pleading ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74
68 Bless the Lord, dew and snow-storm, praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you must realise ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 26th, 2015 Image

St. John Berchmans
November 26: Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at ... Read More