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Pope St. Damasus I

Saint Damasus I

Pope & Confessor

Damasus was born in the early 4th century, apparently in the city of Rome, to a family of Spanish ancestry. He served as deacon at the church of St. Lawrence, which he later ordered restored, and was made archdeacon under Pope Liberius, whom Damasus followed into exile before returning to Rome, where Damasus was elected pope upon the death of Liberius. He was immediately faced with a bloody conflict due to the election of an anti-pope, Ursinus, until the matter was settled thanks to the intervention of the Emperor Valentinian. Damasus led the Church in resistance against several heresies, taking part in or sending delegates to several synods and councils. St. Jerome served for some time as secretary to Damasus, and undertook his Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible at the pontiff’s request. The Canon of the Bible was proclaimed at a council under Damasus in 382, and reproduced under Pope St. Gelasius I about a century later. Damasus also promoted even greater veneration of the martyrs, and did a great deal to improve access to their tombs throughout Rome. He reigned for over eighteen years until his death on December 11th, in the year of Our Lord 384.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for December 11th

AT Rome, St. Damasus, pope and confessor, who condemned the heresiarch Apollinaris, and restored to his see Peter, bishop of Alexandria, who had been driven from it. He also discovered the bodies of many holy martyrs, and wrote verses in their honor.

Also, at Rome, St. Thrason, who was arrested by order of Maximian for devoting his wealth to the support of the Christians who labored in the baths and at other public works, or were confined in prison. He was crowned with martyrdom with two others, Pontian and Praetextatus.

At Amiens, the holy martyrs Victoricus and Fuscian, under the same emperor. By order of the governor Rictiovarus, they had iron pins driven into their ears and nostrils, heated nails into their temples, and arrows into their whole bodies. Being beheaded with St. Gentian, their host, they went to our Lord.

In Persia, St. Barsabas, martyr.

In Spain, St. Eutychius, martyr.

At Piacenza, St. Sabinus, a bishop renowned for miracles.

At Constantinople, St. Daniel the Stylite.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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