Pope Damasus I

Pope Damasus I (/ˈdæməsəs/; c. 305 – 11 December 384) was Bishop of Rome, from October 366 to his death in 384. He presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of Sacred Scripture.[1] He spoke out against major heresies in the church (including Apollinarianism and Macedonianism) and encouraged production of the Vulgate Bible with his support for St. Jerome. He helped reconcile the relations between the Church of Rome and the Church of Antioch, and encouraged the veneration of martyrs.

As well as various prose letters and other pieces Damasus was the author of Latin verse. Alan Cameron describes his epitaph for a young girl called Projecta (of great interest to scholars as the Projecta Casket in the British Museum may have been made for her) as "a tissue of tags and clichés shakily strung together and barely squeezed into the meter". [2] Damasus has been described as "the first society Pope",[3] and was possibly a member of a group of Spanish Christians, largely related to each other, who were close to the Spaniard Theodosius I.[4]

A number of images of "DAMAS" in gold glass cups probably represent him and seem to be the first contemporary images of a pope to survive, though there is no real attempt at a likeness. "Damas" appears with other figures, including a Florus who may be Projecta's father. It has been suggested that Damasus or another of the group commissioned and distributed these to friends or supporters, as part of a programme "insistently inserting his episcopal presence in the Christian landscape".[5]

He is recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church; his feast day is December 11.[6]

Pope Saint

Damasus I
19th-century imagined portrait
Papacy began1 October 366
Papacy ended11 December 384
Personal details
Birth nameDamasus
Bornc. 305
Egitânia (nowadays Idanha-a-Velha, Portugal), Western Roman Empire
Died11 December 384
Rome, Western Roman Empire
Feast day11 December
Venerated in
Other popes named Damasus
Papal styles of
Pope Damasus I
Emblem of the Papacy SE
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleSaint


His life coincided with the rise of Emperor Constantine I and the reunion and re-division of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires, which is associated with the legitimization of Christianity and its later adoption as the official religion of the Roman state in 380.

The reign of Gratian, which coincided with Damasus' papacy, forms an important epoch in ecclesiastical history, since during that period (359–383), Catholic Christianity for the first time became dominant throughout the empire. Under the influence of Ambrose, Gratian refused to wear the insignia of the pontifex maximus as unbefitting a Christian, removed the Altar of Victory from the Senate at Rome, despite protests from the pagan members of the Senate. Emperor Gratian also forbade legacies of real property to the Vestals and abolished other privileges belonging to them and to the pontiffs.

Early life

Pope Damasus I was born in Rome around 305.[7][8] Damasus' parents were Antonius, who became a priest at the Church of St. Lawrence (San Lorenzo) in Rome, and his wife Laurentia. Both parents originally come from the region of Lusitania. Damasus began his ecclesiastical career as a deacon in his father's church, where he went on to serve as a priest. This later became the basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls in Rome.[9]

During Damasus' early years, Constantine I rose to rule the Western Roman Empire. As emperor, he issued the Edict of Milan (313), which granted religious freedom to Christians in all parts of the Roman Empire. A crisis precipitated by the rejection of religious freedom by Licinius, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, in favor of paganism resulted in a civil war in 324 that placed Constantine firmly in control of a reunited Empire. This led to the establishment of Christian religious supremacy in Constantinople and gradually led to a See in that city which sought to rival the authority of the Roman See. Damasus was most likely in his twenties at the time.

When Pope Liberius was banished by Emperor Constantius II to Berea in 354, Damasus was archdeacon of the Roman church and followed Liberius into exile, though he immediately returned to Rome. During the period before Liberius' return, Damasus had a great share in the government of the church.[10]

Succession crisis

In the early Church, bishops were customarily elected by the clergy and the people of the diocese. While this simple method worked well in a small community of Christians unified by persecution, as the congregation grew in size, the acclamation of a new bishop was fraught with division, and rival claimants and a certain class hostility between patrician and plebeian candidates unsettled some episcopal elections. At the same time, 4th-century emperors expected each new pope-elect to be presented to them for approval, which sometimes led to state domination of the Church's internal affairs.

Following the death of Pope Liberius on 24 September 366, Damasus succeeded to the Papacy amidst factional violence. The deacons and laity, supported Liberius' deacon Ursinus. The upper-class former partisans of Felix, who had ruled during Liberius' exile, supported the election of Damasus.

The two were elected simultaneously (Damasus' election was held in San Lorenzo in Lucina). J. N. D. Kelly states that Damasus hired a gang of thugs that stormed the Julian Basilica, carrying out a three-day massacre of the Ursinians.[11] Thomas Shahan says details of this scandalous conflict are related in the highly prejudiced "Libellus Precum" (P.L., XIII, 83-107), a petition to the civil authority on the part of Faustinus and Marcellinus, two anti-Damasan presbyters.[12] Such was the violence and bloodshed that the two prefects of the city were called in to restore order, and after a first setback, when they were driven to the suburbs and a massacre of 137 was perpetrated in the basilica of Sicininus (the modern Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore), the prefects banished Ursinus to Gaul.[13] There was further violence when he returned, which continued after Ursinus was exiled again.

Another ancient narrative of events, the "Gesta" (dated to 368 A.D.), provides more detail. It describes Ursinus as being the valid successor to Liberius, and Damasus as following a heretical interloper, Felix. This account also records that an armed force instigated by Damasus broke into the Basilica of Julius and a three-day slaughtering of those assembled there took place. After gaining control of the Lateran basilica Damasus was then ordained as bishop in the cathedral of Rome. However, Damasus was accused of bribing the urban officials of Rome to have Ursinus and chief supporters exiled, including some presbyters. As a result of this attempt, some of (the apparently quite numerous) supporters of Ursinus interrupted this process and rescued the presbyters, taking them to the Basilica of Liberius (identified as the “basilica of Sicinnius”), the apparent headquarters of the Ursinian sect. Damasus then responded by ordering an attack against the Liberian basilica, resulting in another massacre: "They broke down the doors and set fire underneath it, then rushed in...and killed a hundred and sixty of the people inside, both men and women.” Damasus next sent a final assault against some Ursinian supporters who had fled to the cemetery of Saint Agnes, slaying many.[14]

Church historians such as St. Jerome and Rufinus, championed Damasus. At a synod in 378, Ursinus was condemned and Damasus exonerated and declared the true pope. The former antipope continued to intrigue against Damasus for the next few years and unsuccessfully attempted to revive his claim on Damasus's death. Ursinus was among the Arian party in Milan, according to Ambrose.[15]


Damasus (Nuremberg chronicles f 131v 1.)
Pope Damsus as depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle

Damasus faced accusations of murder and adultery with a married woman[16] in his early years as Pope. Edward Gibbon writes, "The enemies of Damasus styled him Auriscalpius Matronarum, the ladies' ear-scratcher."[17] The neutrality of these claims has come into question with some suggesting that the accusations were motivated by the schismatic conflict with the supporters of Arianism.

Damasus I was active in defending the Catholic Church against the threat of schisms. In two Roman synods (368 and 369) he condemned Apollinarianism and Macedonianism, and sent legates to the First Council of Constantinople that was convoked in 381 to address these heresies.[18]

Council of Rome of 382 and the Biblical canon

One of the important works of Pope Damasus was to preside in the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of Sacred Scripture. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, states: A council probably held at Rome in 382 under St. Damasus gave a complete list of the canonical books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament (also known as the 'Gelasian Decree' because it was reproduced by Gelasius in 495), which is identical with the list given at Trent. American Catholic priest and historian William Jurgens stated: "The first part of this decree has long been known as the Decree of Damasus, and concerns the Holy Spirit and the seven-fold gifts. The second part of the decree is more familiarly known as the opening part of the Gelasian Decree, in regard to the canon of Scripture: De libris recipiendis vel non recipiendis. It is now commonly held that the part of the Gelasian Decree dealing with the accepted canon of Scripture is an authentic work of the Council of Rome of 382 A.D. and that Gelasius edited it again at the end of the fifth century, adding to it the catalog of the rejected books, the apocrypha. It is now almost universally accepted that these parts one and two of the Decree of Damasus are authentic parts of the Acts of the Council of Rome of 382 A.D. (Jurgens, Faith of the Early Fathers)

St. Jerome, the Vulgate and the Canon

Pope Damasus appointed St Jerome as his confidential secretary. Invited to Rome originally to a synod of 382 convened to end the schism of Antioch, he made himself indispensable to the pope, and took a prominent place in his councils. Jerome spent three years (382–385) in Rome in close intercourse with Pope Damasus and the leading Christians. Writing in 409, Jerome remarked, "A great many years ago when I was helping Damasus, bishop of Rome with his ecclesiastical correspondence, and writing his answers to the questions referred to him by the councils of the east and west..."[19]

In order to put an end to the marked divergences in the western texts of that period, Damasus encouraged the highly respected scholar Jerome to revise the available Old Latin versions of the Bible into a more accurate Latin on the basis of the Greek New Testament and the Septuagint, resulting in the Vulgate. According to Protestant biblical scholar, F.F. Bruce, the commissioning of the Vulgate was a key moment in fixing the biblical canon in the West.[20]

Jerome devoted a very brief notice to Damasus in his De Viris Illustribus, written after Damasus' death: "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".[21]

Letter of Jerome to Damasus

The letters from Jerome to Damasus are examples of the primacy of the See of Peter:

Yet, though your greatness terrifies me, your kindness attracts me. From the priest I demand the safe-keeping of the victim, from the shepherd the protection due to the sheep. Away with all that is overweening; let the state of Roman majesty withdraw. My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails. But since by reason of my sins I have betaken myself to this desert which lies between Syria and the uncivilized waste, I cannot, owing to the great distance between us, always ask of your sanctity the holy thing of the Lord. Consequently I here follow the Egyptian confessors who share your faith, and anchor my frail craft under the shadow of their great argosies. I know nothing of Vitalis; I reject Meletius; I have nothing to do with Paulinus. He that gathers not with you scatters; he that is not of Christ is of Antichrist.[22]

Relations with the Eastern Church

The Eastern Church, in the person of St. Basil of Caesarea, earnestly sought the aid and encouragement of Damasus against an apparently triumphant Arianism. Damasus, however, harbored some degree of suspicion against the great Cappadocian Doctor of the Church. In the matter of the Meletian Schism at Antioch, Damasus — together with Athanasius of Alexandria, and his successor, Peter II of Alexandria — sympathized with the party of Paulinus as more sincerely representative of Nicene orthodoxy. On the death of Meletius he sought to secure the succession for Paulinus and to exclude Flavian.[23] During his papacy, Peter II of Alexandria sought refuge in Rome from the persecuting Arians. He was received by Damasus, who supported him against the Arians.[12]

Damasus supported the appeal of the Christian senators to Emperor Gratian for the removal of the altar of Victory from the Senate House,[24] and lived to welcome the famous edict of Theodosius I, "De fide Catholica" (27 February 380),[25] which proclaimed as the religion of the Roman State that doctrine which Saint Peter had preached to the Romans and of which Damasus was head.[12]

Devotion to the martyrs

He also did much to encourage the veneration of the Christian martyrs,[26] restoring and creating access to their tombs in the Catacombs of Rome and elsewhere, and setting up tablets with verse inscriptions composed by himself, several of which survive or are recorded in his Epigrammata.[27]

Damasus rebuilt or repaired his father's church named for Saint Laurence, known as San Lorenzo fuori le Mura ("St Lawrence outside the walls"), which by the 7th century was a station on the itineraries of the graves of the Roman martyrs. Damasus' regard for the Roman martyr is attested also by the tradition according to which the Pope built a church devoted to Laurence in his own house, San Lorenzo in Damaso.

St. Damasus sat in the Chair of St. Peter for eighteen years and two months. His feast day is 11 December. He was buried beside his mother and sister in a "funerary basilica ... somewhere between the Via Appia and Via Ardeatina", the exact location of which is lost.[28]

See also


  1. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
  2. ^ Cameron, 136-139; 136 and 137 are quoted in turn
  3. ^ Cameron, 136
  4. ^ Cameron, 142-143
  5. ^ "DAMAS" on 4 glasses per Grig, 5 per Lutraan; Grig, 208-215, 216-220, 229-230, 229 quoted (examples illustrated); Lutraan, 31-32 and pages following
  6. ^ https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Damasus-I
  7. ^ The Liturgy of the Hours, Vol. I, 11 December.
  8. ^ "Pope Damasus I". www.nndb.com. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  9. ^ Foley OFM, Leonard. "St. Damasus I", Saint of the Day, (revised by Pat McCloskey OFM), Franciscan Media
  10. ^ ST DAMASUS, POPE, CONFESSOR (A.D. 305–384) Butler, Alban. "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, vol. III, ewtn
  11. ^ Kelly, J. N. D. (1989). The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 32, 34. ISBN 978-0192139641.
  12. ^ a b c Shahan, Thomas. "Pope St. Damasus I." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 29 Sept. 2017
  13. ^ Ammianus Marcellinus, 27.3.12; 27.9.9. Translated by J.C. Rolfe, Ammianus Marcellinus (Cambridge: Loeb Classical Library, 1939), pp. 19, 61ff
  14. ^ McIntyre, Thomas J. (2015). The First Pontiff: Pope Damasus I and the Expansion of the Roman Primacy. Electronic Theses & Dissertations. 1277. pp. 15, 33, 34. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  15. ^ Ambrose, Epistles iv
  16. ^ M. Walsh, Butler's Lives of the Saints (HarperCollins Publishers: New York, 1991), 413.
  17. ^ Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire chapter 25, n. 83
  18. ^ https://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/CONSTAN1.HTM
  19. ^ Epistle cxx.10
  20. ^ Bruce, F. F. (1988). The Canon of Scripture (PDF). InterVarsity Press. p. 225.
  21. ^ De Viris Illustribus, ch. 103
  22. ^ Letter of Jerome to Pope Damasus, 376, 2.
  23. ^ Socrates, Historia Ecclesiastica 5.15
  24. ^ Ambrose, Epistles xvii, n. 10
  25. ^ Codex Theodosianus XVI, 1, 2
  26. ^ M. Walsh, Butler's Lives, 414.
  27. ^ Epigrammata texts in Latin; Grig, 213, 215
  28. ^ Grig, 213 note 50


  • Lippold, A., "Ursinus und Damasus," Historia 14 (1965), pp. 105–128.
  • Sheperd, M. H., "The Liturgical Reform of Damasus," in Kyriakon. Festschrift für Johannes Quasten (ed. Patrick Granfield and J.A. Jungmann) II (Münster 1970) pp. 847–863.
  • Green, M., "The Supporters of the Antipope Ursinus," Journal of Theological Studies 22 (1971) pp. 531–538.
  • Taylor, J., "St. Basil the Great and Pope Damasus," Downside Review 91 (1973), pp. 183–203, 261-274.
  • Nautin, P. "Le premier échange épistulaire entre Jérôme et Damase: lettres réelles ou fictives?," Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie 30, 1983, pp. 331–334.
  • Cameron, Alan, "The Date and the Owners of the Esquiline Treasure", American Journal of Archaeology, Vol 89, No. 1, Centennial Issue (Jan., 1985), pp. 135–145, JSTOR
  • Reynolds, R. E., "An Early Medieval Mass Fantasy: The Correspondence of Pope Damasus and St Jerome on a Nicene Canon," in Proceedings of the Seventh International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, Cambridge, 23–27 July 1984 (ed. P. Linehan) (Città del Vaticano 1988), pp. 73–89.
  • Chadwick, Henry. The Pelican History of the Church – 1: The Early Church.
  • Grig, Lucy, "Portraits, Pontiffs and the Christianization of Fourth-Century Rome", Papers of the British School at Rome, Vol. 72, (2004), pp. 203–230, JSTOR
  • Lutraan, Katherine L., Late Roman Gold-Glass: Images and Inscriptions, MA thesis, McMaster University, 2006, available online -"investigates the images and inscriptions that decorate the extant corpus of gold-glass vessel bases".
  • Antonio Aste, Gli epigrammi di papa Damaso I. Traduzione e commento. Libellula edizioni, collana Università (Tricase, Lecce 2014).
  • Walker, Williston. A History of the Christian Church.
  • Markus Löx: monumenta sanctorum. Rom und Mailand als Zentren des frühen Christentums: Märtyrerkult und Kirchenbau unter den Bischöfen Damasus und Ambrosius. Wiesbaden, 2013.
  • Carlo Carletti: Damaso I. In: Massimo Bray (ed.): Enciclopedia dei Papi, Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Vol. 1  (Pietro, santo. Anastasio bibliotecario, antipapa), Rome, 2000, OCLC 313504669, pp. 349–372.
  • Ursula Reutter: Damasus, Bischof von Rom (366–384). Leben und Werk (= Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum. Vol. 55). Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, 2009, ISBN 978-3-16-149848-0 (also: Jena, Univ., Diss., 1999).
  • Franz X. Seppelt: Geschichte der Päpste von den Anfängen bis zur Mittel des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts. Vol.: 1: Die Entfaltung der päpstlichen Machtstellung im frühen Mittelalter. Von Gregor dem Grossen bis zur Mitte des elften Jahrhunderts. 2nd newly revised edition (by Georg Schwaiger). Kösel, Munich, 1955, pp. 109–126.
  • Bernhard Schimmelpfennig: Das Papsttum. Von der Antike bis zur Renaissance. 6th edition. Bibliographically revised and updated by Elke Goez. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, 2009, ISBN 978-3-534-23022-8.

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Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Bishop of Rome

Succeeded by
Acacius of Beroea

Acacius of Beroea, a Syrian, lived in a monastery near Antioch, and, for his active defense of the Church against Arianism, was made Bishop of Berroea in 378 AD, by Eusebius of Samosata.

While a priest, Acacius (with Paul, another priest) wrote to Epiphanius of Salamis a letter, in consequence of which the latter composed his Panarion (374–376). This letter is prefixed to the work. In 377–378, he was sent to Rome to confute Apollinaris of Laodicea before Pope Damasus I. He was present at the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381, and on the death of Meletius of Antioch took part in Flavian's ordination to the See of Antioch, by whom he was afterwards sent to the Pope in order to heal the schism between the churches of the West and Antioch.

Afterwards, Acacius took part in the persecution against Chrysostom, and again compromised himself by ordaining as successor to Flavian, Porphyrius, a man considered unworthy of the episcopate and also a meletian. He defended Nestorius against Saint Cyril when the former was charged with heresy, though was not himself present at the Council of Ephesus. At a great age, he labored to reconcile Cyril of Alexandria and the Eastern Bishops at a Synod held at Beroea in 432 AD.

Acacius died 437, at the purported age of 116 years. Three of his letters remain in the original Greek, one to Cyril, and two to Alexander, Bishop of Hierapolis. (Ibid, pp. 819, 830, c.41.55. §129, 143.)

Antipope Heraclius

Heraclius was a Roman who, in 310, opposed the election of Pope Eusebius, earning him the title of antipope. All that is known of Heraclius appears in an epitaph written by Pope Damasus I for Eusebius. It is believed that Heraclius headed a faction demanding immediate reconciliation for the lapsi (those who had lapsed in their faith during persecution) in opposition to Eusebius' stance requiring strict penance, although it is possible that he and his faction were Novatianists and instead opposed readmittance to the church for lapsi. Heraclius was elected pope by his faction in opposition to Eusebius in 310. Public disturbances caused by partisans of the two rivals reached such a state (characterized by Damasus I as sedition, discord, and even warfare) that Emperor Maxentius exiled both parties to Sicily where Eusebius died, and where nothing more was heard of Heraclius.

Antipope Ursicinus

Ursicinus, also known as Ursinus, was elected pope in a violently contested election in 366 as a rival to Pope Damasus I. He ruled in Rome for several months in 366–367, was afterwards declared antipope, and died after 381.

Church Fathers

The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers. There is no definitive list. The era of these scholars who set the theological and scholarly foundations of Christianity largely ended by AD 700 (John of Damascus died in 749 AD, Byzantine Iconoclasm began in 726 AD).In the past, the Church Fathers were regarded as authoritative and more restrictive definitions were used which sought to limit the list to authors treated as such. However, the definition has widened as scholars of patristics, the study of the Church Fathers, have expanded their scope.

Codex Sangallensis 48

Codex Sangallensis, designated by Δ or 037 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), ε 76 (von Soden), is a diglot Greek-Latin uncial manuscript of the four Gospels. Usually it is dated palaeographically to the 9th, only according to the opinions of few palaeographers to the 10th century. It was named by Scholz in 1830.

Council of Rome

The Council of Rome was a meeting of Catholic Church officials and theologians which took place in 382 under the authority of Pope Damasus I, the current bishop of Rome. It was one of the fourth century councils that "gave a complete list of the canonical books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament."The previous year, the Emperor Theodosius I had appointed the "dark horse" candidate Nectarius as Archbishop of Constantinople. The bishops of the West opposed the election result and asked for a common synod of East and West to settle the succession of the see of Constantinople, and so the Emperor Theodosius, soon after the close of the First Council of Constantinople in 381, summoned the Imperial bishops to a fresh synod at Constantinople; nearly all of the same bishops who had attended the earlier second

re assembled again in early summer of 382. On arrival they received a letter from the synod of Milan, inviting them to a great general council at Rome; they indicated that they must remain where they were, because they had not made any preparations for such long a journey; however, they sent three—Syriacus, Eusebius, and Priscian—with a joint synodal letter to Pope Damasus, Ambrose, archbishop of Milan, and the other bishops assembled in the council at Rome.


Damasus can refer to:

Pope Damasus I (330–384) or St. Damasus

Pope Damasus II (died 1048)

Damasus Scombrus, Greek orator from Tralles

Damasus (beetle), a genus of leaf beetle in the subfamily Eumolpinae

Damasus (canonist) (12th–13th centuries); see Bartholomew of Brescia

Damasus (mythology), a soldier on the Trojan side in the Trojan War

Decretum Gelasianum

The Decretum Gelasianum or the Gelasian Decree is so named because it was traditionally thought to be a Decretal of the prolific Pope Gelasius I, bishop of Rome 492–496. The work reached its final form in a five-chapter text written by an anonymous scholar between 519 and 553, the second chapter of which is a list of books of Scripture presented as having been made Canonical by a Council of Rome under Pope Damasus I, bishop of Rome 366–383. This list, known as the Damasine List, represents the same canon as shown in the Council of Carthage Canon 24, 419 AD.

Directa Decretal

The Directa decretal was written by Pope Siricius in February AD 385. It took the form of a long letter to Spanish bishop Himerius of Tarragona replying to the bishop’s requests for directa on various subjects sent several months earlier to Pope Damasus I. It became the first of a series of documents published by the Magisterium that claimed apostolic origin for clerical celibacy and reminded ministers of the altar of the perpetual continence required of them.


Dámaso is a Spanish masculine given name. The name is equivalent to that of Pope Damasus I in English. The name also exists, though is less common, in Italian as Damaso without the accent.


The word epiousios (ἐπιούσιος) is the non-inflected form of epiousion (ἐπιούσιον), a hapax legomenon found only in the Lord's Prayer as reported in the New Testament passages Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3. As a hapax, its interpretation relies upon morphological analysis and context. It is an adjective modifying artos (ἄρτος), the word for bread.

By tradition, the most common English language translation is daily, although most scholars today reject this. All other New Testament passages with the translation "daily" include the word hemeran (ἡμέρᾱν, 'day').The difficulty in understanding epiousios goes at least as far back as AD 382. At that time, St. Jerome was commissioned by Pope Damasus I to renew and consolidate the various collections of biblical texts in the Vetus Latina ("Old Latin") then in use by the Church. Jerome accomplished this by going back to the original Greek of the New Testament and translating it into Latin; his translation came to be known as the Vulgate. In the identical contexts of Matthew and Luke—that is, reporting the Lord's Prayer—Jerome translated epiousios in two different ways: by morphological analysis as 'supersubstantial' (supersubstantialem) in Matthew 6:11, but retaining 'daily' (quotidianum) in Luke 11:3.

The modern Catholic Catechism holds that there are several ways of understanding epiousios, including the traditional 'daily', but most literally as 'supersubstantial' or 'superessential', based on its morphological components. Alternative theories are that—aside from the etymology of ousia, meaning 'substance'—it may be derived from either of the verbs einai (εἶναι), meaning "to be", or ienai (ἰέναι), meaning both "to come" and "to go".According to the Catholic theologian Brant Pitre, a "for the future'" interpretation is "remarkably...now held by a majority of scholars," but that "the primary weakness of this view is its lack of support among ancient Christian interpreters, whose command of Greek was surely as good if not better than that of modern scholars." He further states that 'supernatural' "translates (epiousios) as it stands as literally as possible." Moreover, "among ancient authors, the supernatural interpretation finds remarkably wide support, which strangely often goes unmentioned by modern studies." Pope Benedict XVI in his analysis wrote similarly on the same topic, stating "the fact is that the Fathers of the Church were practically unanimous in understanding the fourth petition of the Our Father (Lord's Prayer) as a Eucharistic petition."

Himerius of Tarragona

Himerius of Tarragona (fl. 385) was bishop of Tarragona during the 4th century.

He is most notable as being the recipient of the Directa Decretal, written by Pope Siricius in February 385 AD. It took the form of a long letter to Himerius replying to the bishop’s requests on various subjects sent several months earlier to Pope Damasus I. It became the first of a series of documents published by the Magisterium that claimed apostolic origin for clerical celibacy and reminded ministers of the altar of the perpetual continence required of them.

Juvenal of Narni

Saint Juvenal (d. May 3, 369 or 377) (Italian: San Giovenale di Narni) is venerated as the first Bishop of Narni in Umbria. Historical details regarding Juvenal’s life are limited. A biography of Juvenal of little historical value was written after the seventh century; it states that Juvenal was born in Africa and was ordained by Pope Damasus I and was the first bishop of Narni and was buried in the Porta Superiore on the Via Flaminia on August 7, though his feast day was celebrated on May 3.

This Vita does not call him a martyr but calls him a confessor.

The martyrologies of Florus of Lyon and Ado describe Juvenal as a bishop and confessor rather than as a martyr.Saint Gregory the Great in his Dialogues (IV, 12) and in his Homiliae in Evangelium speaks of a bishop of Narni named Juvenal, and describes him as a martyr. However, sometimes the title of martyr was given to bishops who did not necessarily die for their faith. Gregory also mentions a sepulcher associated with Juvenal at Narni.

Letter of Jerome to Pope Damasus

The Epistle of Jerome to Pope Damasus I (Latin: Epistula Hieronymi ad Damasum papam), written in 376 or 377 AD, is a response of Jerome to an epistle from Damasus, who had urged him to make a new translational work of the Holy Scripture. The letter was written before Jerome started his translation work (382–405).

Jerome agreed that Old-Latin translation should be revised and corrected, acknowledging the numerous differences between every Latin manuscript such that each one looked like its own version. To remedy the problem, Jerome agreed that they should be corrected on the basis of the Greek manuscripts. Jerome explained why the Old-Latin order of the Gospels (Matthew, John, Luke, Mark) should be changed into the order Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, because it is relevant for the Greek manuscripts. Jerome also explained the importance of the Eusebian Canons and how to use them.

Copies of the letter occur in many Latin manuscript Gospel books and Bibles (even in Old Latin Codex Sangallensis 48). Usually it is placed at the beginning of the gospel book (e.g. Codex Sangallensis 48 or the Lindau Gospels).

Pope Peter II of Alexandria

Patriarch Peter II of Alexandria (died 27 February 381) was the 21st Patriarch of Alexandria from 373 to 381 AD. He was a disciple of Saint Athanasius who designated him as his successor before his death in 373.

He was a zealous opponent of Arianism and immediately after his consecration, the prefect Palladius, acting on orders from Emperor Valens drove him from the city and installed Lucius, an adherent of Arianism as bishop.

Peter found refuge at Rome, where Pope Damasus I (366-384 A.D.) received him and gave him support against the Arians. In 373, Peter returned to Alexandria, where Lucius yielded out of fear of the populace.

Pope Siricius

Pope Siricius (334 – 26 November 399) was Pope from December 384 to his death in 399. He was successor to Pope Damasus I and was himself succeeded by Pope Anastasius I.

In response to inquiries from Bishop Himerius of Tarragona, Siricius issued decrees of baptism, church discipline and other matters. These are the oldest completely preserved papal decretals.


Saint-Damase-de-L'Islet is a municipality in Quebec, Canada, with a population of about 600 people nestled in the Appalachian mountains. It is located about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) southeast of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. It is named after the Pope Damasus I and Damase Ouellet (1826–1908), which is known as the pioneer of the town.

The town was first named "Municipalité du canton d'Ashford" in 1898 and got its current name in 1955.

It is known for its local Chicken Festival every September.

San Damaso Ecclesiastical University

The San Damaso Ecclesiastical University is a catholic university erected by the Holy See in the Archdiocese of Madrid (Spain). It teaches Philosophy, Theology, Classical Philology, Canon Law and Religion Sciences with official validity in all the universities of the Catholic Church. Its name is taken from the Pope Damasus I.

It is located in the center of Madrid, in Spain, next to the famous basilica of San Francisco el Grande and contiguous to the Conciliar Seminary of Madrid, where is the headquarters of the library and the Faculty of classical and Christian Letters.

Under the motto "Veritatis Verbum communicantes", the University performs a task of training aspirants to the priesthood or other forms of consecrated life, although it is open to anyone who wants to deepen scientifically and rigorously in the Catholic faith. In addition, he actively collaborates in different educational programs of the Archdiocese of Madrid, such as the permanent formation of priests and the School of pastoral agents.


Tarsicius or Tarcisius was a martyr of the early Christian church who lived in the 3rd century. The little that is known about him comes from a metrical inscription by Pope Damasus I, who was pope in the second half of the 4th century.

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
13th–16th centuries
Viterbo (1257–1281)
Orvieto (1262–1297)
Perugia (1228–1304)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy
Virgin Mary
See also
(by order
of precedence
Great Doctors
Latin Church Fathers
Liturgical language
Liturgical rites
(Latin Mass)
See also

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