Monday, August 10, 2009

Archival Feast Day


I think I've mentioned before that I work as an Archivist for my "day job." Today archivists across the nation are heading to Austin for the annual conference of the Society of American Archivists. It's very fitting because today is the feast day of the Patron Saint of Librarians & Archivists, St. Lawrence, a 3rd century deacon responsible for the written archives and records of the early Catholic church.

On August 6, 258, six other deacons along with Pope St. Sixtus II were captured by Emperor Valerian and martyred. As the Church librarian and archivist, Lawrence was expected to have a list of all the members of the early church, and the locations of the alleged golden treasure belonging to the Vatican. Captured by soldiers on August 8, he was told to produce the wealth of the church, especially the names of all Roman nobles who were Christians.

Lawrence went through the city and gathered together all the poor and sick people supported by the Church and brought them forth saying, "This is the Church's treasure!" According to tradition, for his presumed impudence, Lawrence was then slowly roasted on a grill on the site of the Basilica di San Lorenzo in Rome, in the hope that he would publicly renounce his religion and reveal the names of the wealthy Christians.

The annual Perseid meteor shower that occurs near his feast day in August is sometimes called "The Tears of St. Lawrence" in Italy.

Paul C. over at Saint Cast has a Saint Cast episode about St. Lawrence from last year. Enjoy!

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