St. Damasus I, Pope of Rome
The first pope to call Rome the Apostolic See, Pope/St. Damasus was born
c. 305 in Rome and was exiled with Pope Liberius in 355. When Damasus
returned to Rome, he served under antipope Felix II, who had been elected
in place of the exiled Liberius. Damasus was reconsiled with Liberius in
358. At the time that Damasus was elected pope (366), Ursinus was elected
pope by another faction. Damasus hired people to storm St. Julian's, where
the antipope and his followers were holding court. After a 3-day battle,
Damasus appealed to the prefect of the city who ousted Ursinus, some of
whose followers took refuge in the Liberian basilica. Damasus' attack on
the building left 137 dead. In 371, Damasus was was charged with an
unknown offense (probably adultery) and acquitted when the emperor
intervened. Opposed to Arianism, Damasus was unable to depose the Arian
bishop of Milan and did not attend the Council of Constantinople in 381.
St. Jerome was secretary to Damasus, who died in 384.
Karen Rae Keck
Return to St Pachomius Library.