Lawrence of Rome

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Titian , around 1550: Martyrdom of St. Laurence
Agnolo Bronzino : The Martyrdom of St. Laurence , 1569, Basilica di San Lorenzo , Florence

Laurentius of Rome (* possibly in Osca ( Hispania ) or Laurentum ( Italy ); † August 10, 258 in Rome ) was a Roman deacon at the time of Pope Sixtus II and died a martyr . He is venerated as a saint in several denominations . Its feast in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Evangelical Churches is August 10th, and August 11th in the Armenian Apostolic Church . The saint is considered to be the most famous bearer of the name Laurentius .


Statue of St. Laurentius in Arnreit, Upper Austria

Since the name most likely means The Man from Laurentia, Laurentius could actually have come from the town of Laurentia, southwest of Rome. According to tradition, as Archdeacon of Rome he was responsible for the administration of the local church property and its use for social purposes. After the Roman Emperor Valerian had Pope Sixtus II beheaded, Laurentius was flogged and asked to surrender the church treasure within three days. Then Laurentius distributed it to the members of the community, gathered a crowd of poor and sick, crippled, blind, lepers, widows and orphans and presented them to the emperor as "the true treasure of the church". The captain, before whom Laurentius appeared, had him tortured several times and then executed on a red-hot iron grate . For this reason, the martyr is represented with the rust as an attribute . According to some traditions, he was said to have joked happily while suffering martyrdom. He is said to have addressed his last words to the emperor: "You poor man, this fire is cool to me, but it brings you eternal torment."

Representation in art

St. Laurentius frees souls from purgatory , altarpiece by Lorenzo di Niccolò, 1393–1412

In Christian iconography and in heraldry , the saint, who is clad in the dalmatic of the deacon, is assigned as an attribute the grate on which he was put to death ; he is also often represented with the martyr's palm . In coats of arms the rust is often the only symbol for him. Further characteristics are the book of the Gospels, bread or wallet.

The builder, King Philip II , had the floor plan of the Escorial in the shape of a grate in honor of the saint. Part of this palace complex is also the Hieronymites Monastery, consecrated to St. Laurence .


St. Lawrence is one of the canon saints whose names are mentioned in the first prayer of the Roman Catholic Church , he is the only deacon mentioned in the canon. He is also mentioned in the All Saints' Litany .

Laurentius is the patron saint of many professional groups that have to do with open fires, bakers , beer brewers , textile cleaners and cooks . As a deacon, Laurentius administered the assets of his church, which is why he is often called on by professional groups such as archivists and librarians . In the case of lumbago , sciatica and skin problems, St. Laurentius also called.



Tomb of St. Lawrence in San Lorenzo fuori le mura

In the early days of Christianity, Laurentius was considered an important saint. In the time of Constantine the Great, a basilica was built next to his tomb outside the city walls of Rome . This original basilica disappeared over the centuries but was remembered as the Basilica Maior . The later over the tomb of St. Laurentius built church and another basilica in front of it have been united in a single church, San Lorenzo fuori le mura , since the early Middle Ages . It is one of the seven pilgrimage churches of Rome and thus testifies to the exceptional reputation of St. Lawrence. Due to the mention of the basilica that has disappeared as a basilica maior , San Lorenzo fuori le mura is counted among the patriarchal basilicas . The grate, which according to tradition is the one on which the saint suffered his martyrdom, is venerated as a relic in the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina in Rome. Every year on August 10th, the relic of the head of St. Laurentius is shown on a side altar of the small church of Sant'Anna dei Palafrenieri to the right of the colonnade of St. Peter's Square.


A blood relic of Laurentius, which liquefies every year on the day of his martyrdom, is kept in St. Mary's Church in the small town of Amaseno southeast of Rome .

Germany, Austria and the Netherlands

The Laurentius cult in Germany spread after King Otto I's victory against the Hungarians in the battle on the Lechfeld near Augsburg , which took place on Laurentius Day, August 10, 955.

St. Laurentius in the village church Hornstorf , Lkrs. Northwest Mecklenburg
Zwenkau coat of arms: St. Laurentius with rust and martyr's palm
Laurence Day Salzburg on the Alter Markt , August 10, 2016
  • St. Laurentius is the patron saint of cooks . They maintain their own guild order , the Laurentius Society , and call themselves the Laurentius Knights . Every year on August 10th, thousands of cooks meet and take part in a parade, etc. wearing their work clothes.
  • There is also a Laurentius Brotherhood in Wuppertal. The Fraternitas Sancti Laurentii eV is a spiritual community of Catholic lay people and clergy who strive to deepen their faith and dedicate themselves to spiritual and physical works of mercy.
  • St. Laurentius was the patron saint of the diocese of Merseburg, which perished during the Reformation . The city of Zwenkau , located in this diocese, still has the saint in its coat of arms.
  • The Wuppertal coat of arms, the coat of arms of the Aachen district Laurensberg , the Bonn district Hardtberg , the Wiesbaden district Naurod , the municipality of Hemmingen (Württemberg) and the former coat of arms of the city of Elberfeld from the 14th century show the rust as an attribute of St. Laurentius.
  • The municipality of Reddeber also has the rust of Laurentius in the coat of arms, there is the Laurentius Church , the original construction of which was demonstrably started in 955.
  • Saint Laurentius is the patron saint of the local community of Herschbach , which has the saint on its coat of arms. There is a Laurentiusallee that leads to the Laurentiuskapelle, a place of pilgrimage .
  • Other places have Laurentius or his attribute in their coat of arms, such as Niedernhall , Benneckenstein (Harz) , Oberderdingen , Üxheim , Gündelbach , Glücksburg , Munkbrarup , Thalheim and the Viennese districts of Penzing (Vienna) and Währing . In Switzerland, Bülach and Untervaz should be mentioned.
  • A relic , the head of Laurentius , was venerated in Mönchengladbach .
  • Laurentius is the church patron of Großgartach, which merged with Schluchtern in the course of the community reform of 1970 in the new community of Leingarten . The coat of arms of Großgartach showed St. Laurentius with rust and martyr's palm. Today's municipality of Leingarten has the grate on the left on the shield. The Protestant Lorenz Church and the Lorenz parish hall are located in Leingarten .

There are also many Laurentius churches in the Netherlands, for example in Alkmaar , Breda (Ginneken district) and Rotterdam . Saint Lawrence is also the patron saint of Rotterdam .

Church buildings

Fresco of the Martyrdom of St. Laurentius in the Laurentiuskapelle of the Marienkirche Hanau , 15th century
  • The Roman Catholic Basilica of St. Laurentius (Enns) , also known as the St. Laurence Basilica or Lorcher Basilica, is located in Lorch, a district of the city of Enns in the Austrian state of Upper Austria. It is the most important early Christian site in Austria.
  • The St. Laurentius Church is the oldest parish church in Bünde, Herford district. The church is considered to be the original parish church of the Osnabrück diocese at the time of the Christianization of the Saxon tribal area. It was built before the 9th century and has a late Gothic extension.
  • The oldest cathedral in Scandinavia , Lund Cathedral was dedicated to St. Laurentius and testifies to the close connection of the Scandinavian peoples to the Church of Rome as a result of the Christianization of Scandinavia .
  • One of the oldest churches in Vienna, the parish church Altsimmering is dedicated to St. Laurentius consecrated. It was mentioned in a document as early as 1267 as a branch church of St. Stephan .
  • In Farnroda near Eisenach there is also a Laurentius Church, first mentioned in 1272. It is noteworthy that the bell tower of this church stands a little apart and was previously used as a defense tower.
  • The previous building of the Old Reformed Church in Elberfeld in Wuppertal was consecrated to St. Laurentius in the 10th century . After the Reformation a new Laurentiuskirche was built. The patronage was transferred to the city of Elberfeld and later to the whole of Wuppertal.
  • In 1306 the Padula Charterhouse , consecrated to the saint, was founded in Padula .
  • In the 16th century, after Philip II's victory in the battle of Saint-Quentin, on the day of the commemoration of St. Laurentius built the Real Sitio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial in 1557 , a monastery and at the same time the residence of the Spanish king for centuries.
  • In 1746 the baroque church of St. Laurentius was consecrated in Dirmstein, Palatinate . It is the only two-church in Germany where the partition wall between Catholics and Protestants was already provided for in the building plan, so that the church appears from the outside as a homogeneous unit and at the same time each of the two parts inside looks like a fully valid church.
  • the Protestant parish church of St. Laurentius in Ferndorf (town of Kreuztal)
  • the church of St. Laurentius in Rudersdorf (Wilnsdorf)
  • The Church of St. Laurentius in Munich was built by the Oratorians in the mid-1950s as one of the first church buildings in line with the liturgical reform.
  • The village church of St. Laurentius of the Protestant community in Northwest Mecklenburigschen Hornstorf, first mentioned in a document in 1327, was built in the Gothic style.
  • The church in Vienna-Breitensee, consecrated in 1899, is dedicated to St. Laurentius consecrated. It was built in the neo-Gothic style in 1896–1898.
  • The Evangelical St. Laurentius Church in Usenborn dates from around 1000.
  • The Protestant St. Laurentius Church in Groß Börnecke, rebuilt in 1791. Its predecessor from the 9th century was also the patronage of St. Laurentius consecrated. The church tower still comes from this time.
  • Church of St. Maria and St. Laurentius in Ludorf an der Müritz. The early Gothic brick building was first mentioned on the occasion of its consecration in 1346.
  • the church of St. Laurentius Erwitte is one of the early parish churches

Other naming

Logo of the Laurentianum Warendorf grammar school with St. Laurentius

Customs and peasant rules

In some areas there is no fire in the house on Laurentius Day; in the past, the lamps were not lit and there was no cooking over an open fire. The following peasant rules are handed down on Laurentius Day :

"St. Lorenz fills the winemaker's barrel and hose with a hot breath. "

"Laurentius cheerfully and well promises a beautiful autumn."

See also

Lawrence of Rome (heraldry)


Web links

Commons : Lawrence of Rome  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ About the veneration of Laurentius because of the battle: Charles R. Bowlus: The battle of Lechfeld and its aftermath, August 955; the end of the age of migrations in the Latin West . Ashgate, Aldershot (Hampshire) and Burlington (Vermont) 2006, pp. 155 f . (German translation: The battle on the Lechfeld , September 2012).
  2. Pastoral Association Erwitte - Erwitte: St. Laurentius Church. Retrieved May 25, 2019 .