Saint Lawrence (also spelled Laurence) is a highly venerated Roman martyr, revered and respected for his Christian valor. His death occurred in 258 AD, executed at the decree of the Roman Emperor Valerian. Historians differ as to his manner of death. Some say he was beheaded, while others record that he roasted to death on a gridiron. He was one of seven deacons of the Roman church serving Pope Sixtus II, all of whom were executed. Before his arrest, Saint Lawrence distributed the church’s treasures to the poor and the sick.
A martyr is one who voluntarily suffers torture and death rather than denies or betrays his religious beliefs. It is a person for whom principle is worth the sacrifice. Following Lawrence’s death, many throughout Rome converted to Christianity, their hearts emboldened by his bravery and steadfast obedience. For his generosity in the face of great adversity, Saint Lawrence is the patron saint of the poor. To this humble man, perhaps his highest honor.