Saint Lawrence

Saint Lawrence was the first deacon of the Catholic Church and is therefore also known as the Archdeacon of the Catholic Church.

He was born in Spain and was sent to Zaragoza at a young age to complete his theological education. His teacher was the later Pope Sixtus II.

Their common love for Rome, as the capital of Christendom, led them to move to Rome and teach there.

On 30.08.257 Sixtus II ascended the papal throne and immediately appointed Lawrence as archdeacon.

On 06.08.258, Pope Sixtus II was arrested by order of Emperor Valerianus while celebrating Holy Mass over the catacombs of St. Callixtus.

Saint Lawrence

Chapel containing the grate of Saint Lawrence in San Lorenzo in Lucina (Rome)

Heilige Lorenz

Saint Lawrence in San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura (Rome)

When Lawrence wanted to follow Pope Sixtus II to his death, he was told that he would be following his teacher in three days and was given a last order. He was to distribute the church treasures among the sick and poor.

Emperor Valerianus, however, laid claim to these treasures and scourged Laurence to force him to hand them over. At the saint’s request to be given 3 days to prepare, the emperor agreed.

During this time, however, Lawrence distributes the treasures of the church among the poor and sick. Finally he presented the now converted poor and sick to the emperor and called them the “true treasures of the Church”.


Emperor Valerianus had Lawrence beaten with lead blocks and tortured with red-hot plates. When the saint refused the pagan sacrificial service, the emperor ordered Lawrence to be slowly tortured to death on a grate over the fire.

Saint Ambrose passes on his last words: “This side is well done, turn around and eat”.

Converted by the steadfastness of Saint Lawrence, his jailer Hippolytus buries the saint.

In 330 Emperor Constantine had the church of San Lorenzo fuori le mura built over the tomb.

Saint Lawrence

After his Marter the body of the Saint left marks on this marble slab – San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura (Rome)

Find more information about Saints and Martyrs here:
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