Damasus I of Rome

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St. Damasus of Rome

Our father among the saints Damasus I of Rome was the Archbishop of the Church of Rome from 366 to 384. His feast day is December 11.


Damasus was born about the year 305, probably in Lusitania, Hispania, now part of Portugal, although there is a possibility he was born in Rome. His father and mother's names were Antonius and Laurentia. Damasus grew up in Rome serving the church of the martyr St. Laurence. He was the priest of the Church of San Lorenzo in Rome.

Damasus was appointed to the position of archdeacon in Rome. In 354, he accompanied Bp. Liberius into exile when he was banished to Berea by emperor Constantius II. Damasus soon returned to Rome and took part in the governing of the church until the return of Liberius.

Damasus was elected bishop of Rome, succeeding Liberius, in October 366, by a substantial majority. However, some partisans of Liberius, who supported the deacon Ursinus, objected to Damasus' election and irregularly consecrated Ursinus to the see of Rome. The emperor Valentinian I recognized Damasus and banished Ursinus to Cologne. Ursinus was later permitted to return to MIlan where he joined with the Arians and never stopped persecuting Damasus. In 378, Damasus was accused of adultery, a charge of which he was exonerated by emperor Gratian.

Damasus was deeply involved in the Christological disputes of the day. He convened two councils, in 368 and 369, that condemned Apollinarianism and Macedonianism. His efforts in the elimination of the last champions of the Council of Rimini, were not successful until Auxentius was replaced in the see of Milan by Ambrose. His legates to the Second Ecumenical Council of 381 in Constantinople also voted to condemn these heresies. In 382, Damasus entrusted the revision (Vulgate) of the Latin translation of the Holy Scripture to the learned monk Jerome, who had come to rome to attend a local council.

Abp. Damasus reposed on December 11, 384.

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Damasus I of Rome
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Archbishop of Rome
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