Pope Saint Damasus I was the Bishop of Rome from 366 AD till 384 AD.
He was born in 304 AD.
He died on December 11 384 in Rome.
We celebrate his feast day on December 11 every year in the Catholic Church.
|Pope Saint Damasus I Biography
|Date of Birth
|Pope and Bishop of Rome
|Place of Work
|Date of Death
|December 11 384 AD
|Place of Death
|Patron Saint of
Pope Saint Damasus I’s Life History
Pope Saint Damasus I, born around 304 AD in Rome, Italy, hailed from a Spanish-origin family. Raised in a devout household, his father served as a priest in Rome at Saint Laurence, where Damasus later served as a deacon. Eventually ordained as a priest, he became an assistant to Pope Liberius.
Following Pope Liberius’s banishment to Berda, Damasus accompanied him into exile but later returned to Rome. Upon Liberius’s death, Damasus was chosen as the 37th pope in a contested election that saw the rise of an anti-pope, Ursinus, resulting in violent conflicts and false accusations against Damasus.
His papacy grappled with challenges such as the Arian heresy and various schisms in Antioch, Constantinople, Sardinia, and Rome.
Notably, during Damasus’s reign, Christianity was declared the state religion of the Roman Empire. He enforced Emperor Valentinian’s 370 edict controlling gifts to prelates and staunchly opposed Arianism and Apollinarianism.
Damasus supported the 374 Council of Rome, which affirmed the valid books of the Bible, and the Grand Council of Constantinople in 381, which condemned Arianism.
Damasus focused on eradicating Arianism in the West and Apollinarianism in the East, convening several councils for this purpose.
He undertook significant efforts to rebuild the church of St. Laurence, known as St. Laurence in Damaso, making valuable contributions and settling properties in its vicinity.
He also improved the Vatican’s infrastructure, draining its springs, and adorned the tombs of numerous martyrs with poetic inscriptions.
Damasus’s papacy lasted for eighteen years and two months, and he passed away on December 11, 384, at the age of nearly eighty.
An economic supporter of his secretary, Saint Jerome, he commissioned the translation of the Vulgate. Damasus restored catacombs, shrines, and martyrs’ tombs and wrote poetry dedicated to martyrs.
Although he expressed a desire to be buried in the catacombs with early martyrs, his lowly status was believed to profane the sacred place. His letters, both personal and pontifical, have endured.
His papacy commenced on October 1, 366, and concluded on December 11, 384. Damasus died in Rome of natural causes, and he was initially buried in the Mark and Marcellianus catacombs, with his bones later reinterred in the church of San Lorenzo in Damaso.
As a pope, he is depicted with a patriarchal cross and a model of a church. Pope Saint Damasus I is recognized as the patron of archaeologists and against fever.
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