St. Lawrence was one of the seven deacons of Rome, Italy, under Pope Sixtus II. He was martyred in the persecution of the Christians that the Roman Emperor Valerian ordered in 258. As deacon in Rome, Lawrence was responsible for the material goods of the Church and the distribution of alms to the poor.
About Saint Lawrence in brief
St. Lawrence was one of the seven deacons of the city of Rome, Italy, under Pope Sixtus II. He was martyred in the persecution of the Christians that the Roman Emperor Valerian ordered in 258. As deacon in Rome, Lawrence was responsible for the material goods of the Church and the distribution of alms to the poor. He worked swiftly to distribute as much Church property to the indigent as possible, so as to prevent its being seized by the prefect. On 10 August, Lawrence, the last of theseven deacons, and therefore, the ranking Church official, suffered a martyr’s death. He is therefore called \”archdeacon of Rome\”, a position of great trust that included the care of the treasury and riches of the church. One account records him declaring to thePrefect, \”The Church is truly rich, far richer than your emperor.\” This act of defiance led directly to his martyrdom and can be compared to the parallel Roman tale of the jewels of Cornelia. The martyr had suffered pain for a long time, the legend concludes, he cheerfully declared: \”I’m well done on this side. Turn me over!\” From this St. Lawrence derives his patronage of chefs, comedians, and cooks at San Lorenzo in Miranda, and baptized fellow prisoners at F. Lorenzo in Panis. The Almanac of Filocalus for 354 states that he was buried in the Catacomb of Cyriaca on the Via Tiburtina.
Healy opines that the traditional account of how Lawrence was reconciled is not worthy of credence as it cannot be reconciled as slow as the death cannot be slow. The traditional account is that the martyrs Orentius and Patientia are traditionally held to have been his parents. St. Patrick J. J. Clemens, a presbyter, in his Pernym 2, Hymn 2, states that Lawrence was killed at the hands of a man named Prudentius Clemens in his home town of Huesca, in the later region of Aragon that was then part of the Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis. St Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, notes that Roman authorities had established a norm according to which all Christians who had been denounced must be executed and their goods confiscated by the Imperial treasury. St Ambrose is the earliest source for the narrative that Lawrence asked for three days to gather the wealth. The prefect was so angry that he had a great gridiron prepared with hot coals beneath it, and had Lawrence placed on it, hence Lawrence’s association with the gridiron. Lawrence was sentenced to death and baptized in San Lorenzo and buried in F. San Lorenzo, and was buried for his crimes in the church of San Lorenzo le Mura.