Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Pope St. Damasus I
Feast day: December 11
All lovers of Scripture have reason to celebrate this day. Damasus
was the pope who commissioned Saint Jerome to translate the Scriptures
into Latin, the Vulgate version of the Bible.
Damasus was a sixty-year-old deacon when he was elected Pope in 366.
His reign was marked by violence from the start when another group
decided to elect a different pope. Both sides tried to enforce their
selections through violence. Though the physical fighting stopped,
Damasus had to struggle with these opponents throughout his years as
Damasus may not have won this battle directly, but he won the war by
initiating works that outlasted all his opponents. Not only did he
commission the Vulgate translation but he also changed the liturgical
language of the Church from Greek to Latin. He worked hard to preserve
and restore the catacombs, the graves of the martyrs, and relics.
Damasus was a writer, but he didn't author as many volumes of
treatises as other Christian writers did. Damasus liked to write
epigrams in verse, short sayings that capture the essence of what needed
to be said. He wrote many epigrams on martyrs and saints. And he wrote
one about himself that shows his humility and the respect he had for the
In a Roman cemetery is the papal crypt he built. All that is left of
him there, however, is this: " I, Damasus, wished to be buried here, but
I feared to offend the ashes of these holy ones." Instead, when he died
in 384, he was buried with his mother and sister.