Laurentius (36), Aug. 10,
archdeacon of Rome, and martyr under Valerian,
a.d. 258. Cyprian (Ep.
82 al. 80 ad Successum) mentions
the rescript of Valerian directing that bishops,
presbyters, and deacons should forthwith be
punished, and records the martyrdom of
Xystus bp. of Rome, in accordance with it on
Aug. 6. Laurentius, the first of the traditional
seven deacons of Rome, suffered four days
afterwards. The genuine Acts of this martyrdom
were lost even in St. Augustine's time, as
he tells us (Ser. 302, de Sancto
Laurent.) that his narration was gained
from tradition instead of reciting the Acts
as his custom was (S. Ambr. de Off.
i. 41). Laurentius suffered by burning over a
slow fire, the prefect thinking thus to extort
the vast treasures which
he believed the Christians to have concealed.
He was buried in the Via Tiburtina in the
cemetery of Cyriaca by Hippolytus and
Justinus, a presbyter, where Constantine the
Great is said to have built a church in honour
of the martyr, which pope Damasus rebuilt or
repaired. Few martyrdoms of the first three
centuries are better attested than this one.
St Laurentius is commemorated in the canon
of the Roman Mass. His name occurs in the
most ancient Calendars, as Catalog. Liberianus
or Bucherianus (4th cent.), in the Calendar of
Ptolemeus Silvius (5th cent.), and in others
In D. C. A. (cf. Smedt, Introd. ad Hist.
Ecclesiast. pp. 199–219, 514). He is
commemorated by Prudentius in
his Peristeph. (Mart. Rom. Vet.;
Mart. Adon., Usuard.; Tillem. Mém.
iv. 38; Ceillier, ii. 423; Fleury, H. E. vii.
38, xi. 36, xviii. 33). Cf. Fronton, Ep. et
Dissert. Eccl. p. 219 (1720), where, in a
note on Aug. 10, in Rom. Kai., an
accurate account is given of the churches built
at Rome in his honour.