Saint Lawrence

Saint Lawrence

Huesca, Provincia de Huesca, Aragon, Spain
Death 10 Aug 258
Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Burial Lazio, Vatican City
Memorial ID 95157010 · View Source
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Roman Catholic Saint. A highly revered saint, whose feast celebration is held across the globe, devotion towards Saint Lawrence can be easily noted through the numerous places, churches and schools named after him. Although little is known about him, his martyrdom left a deep and lasting impression through the course of centuries. Born in Huesca, in present day Aragon, Spain, to the nobles Orentius and Patientia, he was a twin to Orentius, who later became Bishop of Auch, France. All members of the family are found listed to the Calendar of Saints. Tradition has it that Pope Sixtus II, upon paying a visit to the villa of Lawrence's parents in Loret, took the young boy with him to Rome, where he was ordained deacon. Like many other members of the Roman clergy, Sixtus was one of the victims of the persecution of Valerian in the year 258, with Lawrence following shortly afterwards. History has it that after the death of Sixtus, the Prefect of Rome demanded that Lawrence turn over the riches of the Church. Ambrose is the earliest source for the tale that Lawrence asked for three days to gather together the wealth. Working swiftly to distribute as much church property to the poor as possible, so as to prevent its being seized by the prefect. On the third day, at the head of a small delegation, he presented himself to the prefect, and when ordered to give up the treasures of the church, he presented the poor, the crippled, the blind and the suffering, and said that these were the true treasures of the church. One account records him declaring to the prefect, "The Church is truly rich, far richer than your Emperor." This act of defiance led directly to his martyrdom. Lawrence, the last of the seven deacons of Rome who served under Pope Sixtus, was sentenced at San Lorenzo in Miranda, imprisoned in San Lorenzo in Fonte, martyred at San Lorenzo in Panisperna and buried in the via Tiburtina in the catacomb of Cyriaca by Hippolytus and Justinus, a presbyter. Tradition holds that Lawrence was burned or "grilled" to death, hence his association with the gridiron. Tradition also holds that Lawrence joked about their cooking him enough to eat while he was burning on the gridiron, hence his patronage of cooks and chefs, stating something along the lines of, "turn me over...I'm done on this side". One of the early sources for the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence was the description by Aurelius Prudentius Clemens in his 'Peristephanon', Hymn II. Constantine I is said to have built a small oratory in honour of the martyr, while Pope Damasus I rebuilt or repaired the church, presently known as San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, while the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo in Panisperna was built over the place of his martyrdom. The gridiron of the martyrdom was placed by Pope Paschal II in the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina. His garments are said to be preserved in Our Lady's Chapel in the Lateran Palace, while his head is venerated in the Papal Chapel inside the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican City. One of the most widely venerated saints of the Roman Catholic Church, devotion to him was widespread by the fourth century. As his martyrdom occurred very early in church history, many non-Catholic Christians honour him as well. Since the Perseid Meteor Shower typically occurs every year in mid-August, on or near Saint Lawrence's feast day, some refer to the shower as the "Tears of Saint Lawrence." Observing the "Calici di Stelle" on the "Notte di San Lorenzo", is a tradition observed by several Italians. Tradition also has it that the ashes of the martyr were sparse along the four winds of the earth and that they re-appear yearly in various locations of the world in the early morning of August 10. Mysteriously enough, various areas appear covered in ashes on that day. Especially honoured in the city of Rome, where he is one of the city's patrons, he is invoked by librarians, archivists, cooks and tanners as their patron. On August 10, his liturgical feast day, his burnt head is displayed in the Vatican for veneration.

Bio by: Eman Bonnici

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Eman Bonnici
  • Added: 11 Aug 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 95157010
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Saint Lawrence (unknown–10 Aug 258), Find a Grave Memorial no. 95157010, citing Vatican Apostolic Library, Lazio, Vatican City ; Maintained by Find A Grave .