St Damasus I, Pope

Isaiah 35.1-10; Psalm 84; Luke 5.17-26

Damasus was born in Rome around the year 305.  His father was priest of the Church of
St Lawrence in Rome, and Damasus was to begin his ecclesiastical career as Deacon in his father’s church; later he was to serve as its priest.   

Following the death of Pope Liberius on 24th September 366 Damasus was elected to succeed him.  Simultaneously, though, another faction elected the deacon Ursinus.  Violence broke out. Damasus succeeded in gaining control of the Lateran basilica, and there he was ordained bishop.  During his papacy Damasus energetically pursued heretics, including especially Arians (those who denied the divinity of Christ).  He promulgated the Canon of Scripture and commissioned Jerome to make a single Latin translation (the ‘Vulgate’) to replace the many differing versions in circulation.  Jerome wrote of Damasus that ‘he had a fine talent for making verses and published many brief works in heroic metre. He died in the reign of the emperor Theodosius at the age of almost eighty.’

Posted in Daily Reflection.