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Lawrence, Saint

martyred century scenes poor

One of the most popular and frequently represented *saints in art from the early Christian period onward, the Spanish-born Lawrence (d. c.258) was one of the seven deacons of Rome in the mid-third century and was martyred in persecutions under the emperor Valerian. *Constantine constructed a chapel over his catacomb tomb, which was enlarged in the sixth century (now the present basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le mura). Lawrence was famed for his humility and concern for the poor, and images of him and scenes from his life appear as early as the fourth century. He is often dressed in clerical robes, holds a book, and carries or stands near a gridiron or flaming grill. This is due to the tradition that he was martyred by being roasted on a grill, although this may be the result of a scribal error in the early copying of his legend. Scenes of Lawrence’s *martyrdom and burial as well as his charitable distribution of church monies to the poor are found in Romanesque sculpture, fresco, and metalwork, and Gothic stained glass. While in prison, Lawrence converted his guard, *Hippolytus, to Christianity (he was subsequently martyred as well).

Lawson, James M., Jr.(1928–) - Civil rights activist, minister, A Youthful Social Activist, Becomes a Conscientious Objector, Enters Federal Prison [next] [back] Lawrence, Martin (1965–)

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