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December 11 - St. Damasus

Pope St. Damasus I (305-384)
December 11th

Pope Damasus was once described by his secretary, St. Jerome, as an "incomparable person." This is because Damasus would strive to be a champion of the faith during very fragile times in the Church's tradition. He would not only face opposition in the form of several heresies, but he would also face off against an anti-pope named Ursinus. 

Having an anti-pope during the 300s was not uncommon due to the prevalence of various heresies, especially Arianism. The two popes would often debate their theological stances until one side would be declared the side of truth in some matter. This would happen in court during the reign of Damasus.

But it is important to note that people are not named saints because they were able to withstand the trails against heresy. Damasus was the Pope during the time that Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Because of this, Damasus had to act prudently and quickly due to the mass conversions of the Roman people. He enacted several liturgical reforms in order to help standardize liturgy throughout the massive expanse of space that was the Roman Empire. He also appointed his secretary, St. Jerome, to translate scripture into the language of the Empire, which was Latin.

Damasus was the Pope that the Church needed in such a fragile time as the world was changing and the Church was trying to figure out its own theology. He sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit came to his assistance.