St. Lawrence is believed to have been born in Spain, at Huesca, a town in the Aragon region near the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains. As a youth he was sent to Zaragoza to complete his humanistic and theological studies. It was here he first encountered the future Pope Sixtus II, who was of Greek origin. The future Pope was one of the most-famous and esteemed teachers in, what was then, one of the most-renowned centres of learning. Eventually, both left Spain for Rome. When Sixtus became the Pope in 257, he ordained St. Lawrence as a deacon, and though Lawrence was still young, appointed him first among the seven deacons who served in the patriarchal church; therefore he is called “archdeacon of Rome”. This was a position of great trust, which included the care of the treasury and riches of the church, and the distribution of alms among the poor.
St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, notes that Roman authorities had established a norm according to which all Christians who had been denounced must be executed and their goods confiscated by the Imperial treasury. At the beginning of the month of August 258, the emperor Valerian issued an edict commanding that all bishops, priests, and deacons should immediately be put to death. Sixtus was captured on August 6, 258, at the cemetery of St. Callixtus while celebrating the liturgy and executed forthwith.
Updated on: [January 31, 2018]