St Lawrence, Little Stanmore
A Christian Community
In the Anglican Tradition

St Lawrence was a deacon in Rome in the mid Third Century AD. On 6 August 258, he became the senior ranking Church official, following the execution of Pope St Sixtus II. His tenure of this position did not last long, as he was summoned for beheading on the 10th, and was commanded to bring the riches of the church with him. Lawrence had already given away the church's wealth, and arrived with a crowd of the poor, blind, sick and crippled - which were the church's true riches.

St Lawrence was martyred on a griddle, and is reputed to have told his murderers to turn him over, as he was" done on that side". It is perhaps unsuprising that he is known as a patron saint of cooks and restaurateurs.

The feast of his martyrdom falls at the time of the Perseid Meteor shower. This spectacular astromonical phenomenon was known in past times as the "burning tears of St Lawrence".

Andrea del Sarto, 1517, Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence
Andrea del Sarto, 1517,
Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence


"With the robe of joyfulness, alleluya, Our Lord hath this day clothed His soldier, Laurence.
May Thy faithful’s joyous assemblage clap their hands more cheerfully than they have heretofore.
Today the noble martyr offered pleasing sacrifice to God, today he, being grievously tested, endured unto the end the torment of his fire; and shrank not from offering his limbs to punishments most grievous. Before the ruler he is summoned, and settlement is made upon the Church’s hidden holdings.
But he by words enticing is unmoved, and is unshaken by the torments of the ruler’s avarice. Valerian is laughed to scorn,
And the Levite’s liberal hand, when he is asked for payments, giveth to the gathered poor. For he was their minister of charity, giving them abundance from his means. Therefore the prefect is enraged,
And a glowing bed made ready. The torment-bearing instrument, the gridiron of his suffering, roasteth his very viscera,
But he laugheth it to scorn. The martyr sweateth in his agony, in hopes of crown and recompense which is allotted those with faith, who struggle for the sake of Christ.
The court of heaven rejoiceth for his warfare-waging, for he hath prevailed this day against the lackeys of wickedness. That we, then, may attain the gift of life, by this our patron, be glad, O our choir, singing in the church upon his feast-day a joyful alleluya. "

(from the Old Sarum Rite Missal, 1998, Saint Hilarion Press)

St Lawrence Distributes Alms to the Poor of Rome.
Michael Pacher 1465-70
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Text and Images source: The Catholic Forum
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