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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Laurentius (36)

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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 described under CALENDAR 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.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Laurentius (36)'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
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