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Saint Lawrence

Saint Lawrence
  • Century: 3rd Century
  • Patronage: Comedians, Librarians, Students, Miners, Tanners, Chefs, Roasters
  • Feast Day: August 10th

St. Lawrence of Rome was one of the seven deacons of ancient Rome, serving under Pope St. Sixtus II, who were martyred during the persecution of Valerian in 258.  According to lore, among the treasures of the Greek church entrusted to Lawrence for safe-keeping was the Holy Chalice, the cup that Jesus and the Apostles drank from at the last supper. 

According to Christian history, the Holy Grail is a relic that was sent by St. Lawrence to his parents in northern Aragon.  While the Holy Chalice’s exact journey through the centuries is disputed, it is generally accepted by Catholics that the Chalice was sent by his family to the monastery of San Juan de la Peña, for preservation and veneration.  Historical records indicate that this chalice has been venerated and preserved by a number of monks and monasteries through the ages.  Today the Holy Grail is venerated in a special chapel in the Catholic Cathedral of Valencia, Spain. 

After the death of Sixtus, the prefect of Rome demanded that Lawrence turn over the riches of the Church.  St. Lawrence asked for three days to gather the wealth.  Meanwhile, he worked quickly to distribute as much Church property to the poor as possible, to prevent it being seized by the prefect.  On that third day, he turned himself in, and presented the prefect with the poor, the crippled, the blind and suffering, saying that these were the true treasures of the Church.  This act of defiance led directly to his immediate martyrdom.  He was burned or grilled to death, hence his association with the gridiron in artwork depicting him. 

Practical Take Away

St. Lawrence is among the deacons that were martyred shortly after St. Sixtus II.  St. Lawrence however, was not martyred until three days after St. Sixtus II – something the Pope had prophesied.  It is believed that he protected the sacred Chalice that Jesus and the Apostles used during the Last Supper, and that was why he was allowed the three days – so he could get it in safe-keeping.  Either way, his life shows us that our first and foremost thoughts and energy should be spent on preserving the faith and passing it to the next generation.  We too, should do all in our power to preserve the faith in those things we do, and to pass it on to future generations.  By calling on St. Lawrence, we can gain heavenly help to assist us in our mission, be sure to call upon him.