On August 3 we remembered Stephen the Deacon who was the first Christian martyr in Jerusalem. Today we remember Laurence the Deacon who suffered martyrdom in the city of Rome on this day in 258 AD.
There is very little factual information about Laurence although many colourful legends exist. As a deacon Laurence was the right hand man of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Sixtus II. Laurence was responsible for giving alms to the poor and the sick, and he lovingly did this in the Name of Christ. Persecution of Christians arose during the reign of Emperor Valerian and in 258 the Bishop along with some deacons was executed. Laurence was also arrested because it was said that he knew where the treasure of the church was. When Valerian demanded that Laurence produce the riches of the church, Laurence led the Emperor into the courtyard where he had assembled a large crowd of beggars, widows, lepers, cripples, and the mentally ill. “Here is the Church’s wealth,” Laurence said. Consumed with rage Valerian order that Laurence be executed at once.
May we like St. Laurence have compassion on the poor and needy, treasuring them in the Name of the One who came not to be served but to serve, Jesus Christ.
Bible Reading: Matthew 6:19-21, 19:26-28; 1John 3:17