— Feria Tertia post Dominicam Quartam in Quadragesima — Statio ad S. Laurenitum in Damaso —
Archaeological evidence suggests the site, like those of many churches in Rome, may have formerly housed a pagan temple. The first documentary evidence of a church at this site is the reference in the synod of Pope Symmachus of AD 499 of a Titulus Damasi. According to tradition, in the AD 380s a basilica church was erected by Pope Damasus I in his own residence. This church is one of many in Rome dedicated to St. Lawrence, including the more ancient and then extra-urban Basilica di San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura, that was rebuilt by the same Pope Damasus I. The original basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso was demolished by Cardinal Raffaele Riario, a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV who commissioned the imposing Renaissance-style Palazzo della Cancelleria (1489–1513). The palace was built of spolia and stone from nearby ancient Roman buildings, including the Colosseum, and enveloped the new basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso.
The architect of the basilica, like that of the Palace of the Chancellery, is unknown. The design of the Palace has been attributed to Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Baccio Pontelli, while Filippo Titi suggests Donato Bramante and other authors have cited Giuliano da Sangallo and Andrea Bregno. Titi also independently attributed reconstruction of the basilica to Bramante. The last restoration was necessary after a fire damaged the basilica in 1944.
I once served Mass for a priest friend in the chapel of the Crucifix
The interior of the church.