Wednesday, 25 June 2014

St Lawrence/Lorenzo/Lawrence

I had an uncle Lawrence. I have a cousin Laurie. My grandfather was named Lawrence (known as Larry). His Italian father, my great grandfather, was named Lorenzo. And my brother and I attended St Laurence's (different spelling but same saint)college for an accumulated sixteen years.

On the Vittoriosa peninsula is the church of St Lawrence. He was a young Spanish  fella who became a priest in the late 200s. He was chosen by Pope Sixtus the something to be one of seven deacons of Rome and was responsible for the management of the wealth of the Church. He also had a commitment to the poor. On the death of Sixtus, the Prefect of Roma, a heathen, made his move and demanded that Lawrence hand over the treasures of the Church to him within three days. In response Lawrence gathered the poor of Rome together, and said to the Prefect these are the treasures of the church. A little cheeky and perhaps dumb.He paid for it. The prefect was not amused and ordered Lawrence to be killed - slow cooked in fact, goes the story. He was manacled to a toasting rack and grilled over hot coals. He is said to have taunted the Romans with: "That side is done you can turn me over now."

On the other hand, as with many historical events the story may be better than the truth. One historian suggests that this story may be based on a typo. His death should logically have been acknowledged with the phrase: "passus est", 'he suffered' or 'he was martyred'. He postulates that the transcript accidentally became "assus est", dropping the 'p' and translated as 'he was roasted'.
A copy of the skull of Lawrence, the original of which is in Rome.

A beautiful Maltese Cross in the Church of St Lawrence.
A madonna fir the benefit of my sister in law who has a fascination for these things.

The feast day for St Lawrence is the week leading up to the date I leave Malta, 10 August. I'll be there in the flesh with my grandfather and great grandfather in spirit.

1 comment:

Mickcap said...

We also spent nine years in an institution with that name. Odd that we weren't regaled with his history .. or maybe I didn't pay attention.
Incidentally a fellow by the name of George Pell now has responsibility for the Vatican's wealth. Wonder what his fate will be?