Wednesday, August 10, 2016
St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
Lawrence before Valerianus by Fra Angelico
Today is the great feast of the Roman martyr, St. Lawrence (+258AD).
St. Lawrence was as deacon to Pope St. Sixtus II, charged with the temporal goods of the Roman Church. On 6 August 258, St. Sixtus II was martyred along with six deacons, but St. Lawrence was spared, though the successor of St. Peter told him he would follow them in four days. The Roman authorities gave Lawrence some days to collect the treasures of the Church. When he returned to them, not with gold and silver, but with the poor, proclaiming them the treasure of the Church, the Roman persecutors were less than thrilled.
The particular manner of martyrdom of St. Lawrence has resulted in him being a patron saint of cooks -- namely, he was roasted alive on a gridiron. Tradition has it that he told his tormentors at one point that, "you can turn me over, I am done on this side."
Here is a brief account of his life with some other information: Catholic Saints Info: St. Lawrence
Also, an account from the Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Lawrence
Finally, the great Fisheater's site has a bit more information along with a description of some of the customs of this day: Fisheaters: Feast of St. Lawrence
For this great feast of St. Lawrence, we might note three other items, a Church, a river, and a meteor shower.
San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, Roma.
["Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls" by Livioandronico2013 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Common]
The Basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le mura (St. Lawrence Outside the Walls), in Rome, is the place of his burial, and that of St. Stephen the Protomartyr, Blessed Pope Pius IX, and Prime Minister Alcide de Gasperi of Italy. It is located just outside the walls to the east of Rome, and is a splendid example of Romanesque architecture. Be sure to check out the official webpage of this great Roman Basilica: Basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le mura, Roma
The beautiful and historic Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, on the St. Lawrence River.
["79 - Québec - Juin 2009" by Martin St-Amant (S23678) - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons]
Of course, in North America, the great river that essentially drains the Great Lakes bears the name of the great St. Lawrence, given it by the French captain Jacques Cartier. At the mouth of that river we also have the Gulf of St. Lawrence -- a Gulf that was reached on the feast of St. Lawrence, 1535AD, by Cartier, hence the name. This is the great river of Montreal and Quebec city.
A Perseid meteor next to the Milky Way, 2009.
["Perseid meteor and Milky Way in 2009" by Brocken Inaglory - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons]
Finally, the Perseid Meteor shower, caused by debris of the Swift-Tuttle comet is also known as the "Tears of St. Lawrence," as it falls in mid-August, near the feast of St. Lawrence. The radiant of this shower, as the name suggests, is the constellation Perseus. So, look toward Perseus for the best chance of seeing a shooting star -- and remember the numbers are usually better after midnight.
Here is an article with some great information on this year's meteor shower: Sky and Telescope: Will You See a Bumper Crop of Perseid Meteors?