Monday, December 27, 2010

Feast of St john the Evangelist

Today is the Feast Day of St John the Evangelist

Traditionally he has been identified as the author of the the Gospel of John in the New Testament – the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. He was the brother of James and was addressed as the sons of Zebedee.

He was present when Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from the dead, during the Tranfiguration of Jesus and was the Beloved one whom jesus asked to take care of Mary when he was nailed to the cross

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Feast Day of Leo the Great

Pope Leo I or Pope Saint Leo the Great (ca. 400 – November 10, 461) was pope from September 29, 440 to his death.

He was an Italian aristocrat, and is the first pope of the Catholic Church to have been called "the Great". He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452, persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy. He is also a doctor of the Church.

According to the Liber Pontificalis, he was a native of Tuscany. By 431, as a deacon, he occupied a sufficiently important position for Cyril of Alexandria to apply to him in order that Rome's influence should be thrown against the claims of Juvenal of Jerusalem to patriarchal jurisdiction over Palestine—unless this letter is addressed rather to Pope Celestine I. About the same time John Cassian dedicated to him the treatise against Nestorius written at his request. But nothing shows more plainly the confidence felt in him than his being chosen by the emperor to settle the dispute between Aëtius and Albinus, the two highest officials in Gaul.

During his absence on this mission, Pope Sixtus III died (August 11, 440), and Leo was unanimously elected by the people to succeed him. On September 29 he entered upon a pontificate which was to be epoch-making for the centralization of the government of the Roman Church.

Leo was a significant contributor to the centralisation of spiritual authority within the Church and in reaffirming papal authority. While the bishop of Rome had always been viewed as the chief patriarch in the Western church, much of the pope's authority was delegated to local diocesan bishops. Not without serious opposition did he succeed in reasserting his authority in Gaul. Patroclus of Arles (d. 426) had received from Pope Zosimus the recognition of a subordinate primacy over the Gallican Church which was strongly asserted by his successor Hilary of Arles. An appeal from Celidonius of Besançon gave Leo the opportunity to reassert the pope's authority over Hilary, who defended himself stoutly at Rome, refusing to recognize Leo's judicial status. Feeling that the universal jurisdiction of the papacy was threatened, Leo appealed to the civil power for support, and obtained from Valentinian III the famous decree of June 6, 445, which recognized the primacy of the bishop of Rome based on the merits of Peter, the dignity of the city, and the Nicene Creed (in their interpolated form); ordained that any opposition to his rulings, which were to have the force of ecclesiastical law, should be treated as treason; and provided for the forcible extradition by provincial governors of anyone who refused to answer a summons to Rome. Faced with this decree, Hilary submitted to the pope, although under his successor, Ravennius, Leo divided the metropolitan rights between Arles and Vienne (450).

In 445, Leo disputed with Pope Dioscorus, St. Cyril's successor as Pope of Alexandria, insisting that the ecclesiastical practice of his see should follow that of Rome on the basis that Mark the Evangelist, the disciple of Saint Peter and founder of the Alexandrian Church, could have had no other tradition than that of the prince of the apostles. This, of course, was not the position of the Copts, who saw the ancient patriarchates as equals.

Regarding Africa, the fact that the African province of Mauretania Caesariensis had been preserved to the empire and thus to the Nicene faith during the Vandal invasion, and in its isolation was disposed to rest on outside support, gave Leo an opportunity to assert his authority there, which he did decisively in regard to a number of questions of discipline.

Regarding Italy, in a letter to the bishops of Campania, Picenum, and Tuscany (443) he required the observance of all his precepts and those of his predecessors; and he sharply rebuked the bishops of Sicily (447) for their deviation from the Roman custom as to the time of baptism, requiring them to send delegates to the Roman synod to learn the proper practice.

Regarding Greece, because of the earlier line of division between the western and eastern parts of the Roman Empire, Illyria was ecclesiastically subject to Rome. Pope Innocent I had constituted the metropolitan of Thessalonica his vicar, in order to oppose the growing influence of the patriarch of Constantinople in the area. In a letter of about 446 to a successor bishop of Thessalonica, Anastasius, Leo reproached him for the way he had treated one of the metropolitan bishops subject to him; after giving various instructions about the functions entrusted to Anastasius and stressing that certain powers were reserved to the pope himself, Leo wrote: "The care of the universal Church should converge towards Peter's one seat, and nothing anywhere should be separated from its Head."

Council of Chalcedon
A favorable occasion for extending the authority of Rome in the East was offered in the renewal of the Christological controversy by Eutyches, who in the beginning of the conflict appealed to Leo and took refuge with him on his condemnation by Flavian. But on receiving full information from Flavian, Leo took his side decisively. In 451 at the Council of Chalcedon, after Leo's Tome on the two natures of Christ was read out, the bishops participating in the Council cried out: "This is the faith of the fathers ... Peter has spoken thus through Leo ..."

An uncompromising foe of heresy, Leo found that in the diocese of Aquileia, Pelagians were received into church communion without formal repudiation of their errors; he wrote to rebuke them, making accusations of culpable negligence, and required a solemn abjuration before a synod.

Manicheans fleeing before the Vandals had come to Rome in 439 and secretly organized there; Leo learned of this around 443, and proceeded against them by holding a public debate with their representatives, burning their books, and warning the Roman Christians against them.

Nor was his attitude less decided against the Priscillianists. Bishop Turrubius of Astorga, astonished at the spread of this sect in Spain, had addressed the other Spanish bishops on the subject, sending a copy of his letter to Leo, who took the opportunity to exercise Roman policy in Spain. He wrote an extended treatise (July 21, 447), against the sect, examining its false teaching in detail, and calling for a Spanish general council to investigate whether it had any adherents in the episcopate, but this was prevented by the political circumstances of Spain.

At the Second Council of Ephesus, Leo's representatives delivered his famous Tome (Latin text, a letter), or statement of the faith of the Roman Church in the form of a letter addressed to Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople, which repeats, in close adherence to Augustine, the formulas of western Christology, without really touching the problem that was agitating the East. The council did not read the letter, and paid no attention to the protests of Leo's legates, but deposed Flavian and Eusebius, who appealed to Rome.

It was presented again at the subsequent Council of Chalcedon as offering a solution to the Christological controversies still raging between East and West. This time it was read out. The bishops responded by saying "Peter has spoken," and most of them accepted the Tome as broadly following the teaching of Cyril of Alexandria. See the canons of the Council itself for this (10 October session).

Leo demanded of the emperor that an ecumenical council should be held in Italy, and in the meantime, at a Roman synod in October 449, repudiated all the decisions of the "Robber Synod". Without going into a critical examination of its dogmatic decrees, in his letters to the emperor and others he demanded the deposition of Eutyches as a Manichean and Docetic heretic.

With the death of Theodosius II in 450 and the sudden change in the Eastern situation, Anatolius, the new patriarch of Constantinople fulfilled Leo's requirements, and his Tome was everywhere read and recognized.

Leo was now no longer desirous of having a council, especially since it was not to be held in Italy. Instead, it was called to meet at Nicaea, then subsequently transferred to Chalcedon, where his legates held at least an honorary presidency, and where the bishops recognized him as the interpreter of the voice of Peter and as the head of their body, requesting of him the confirmation of their decrees.

He firmly declined to confirm their disciplinary arrangements, which seemed to allow Constantinople a practically equal authority with Rome and regarded the civil importance of a city as a determining factor in its ecclesiastical position; but he strongly supported its dogmatic decrees, especially when, after the accession of Leo I the Thracian (457), there seemed to be a disposition toward compromise with the Eutychians.

He succeeded in having an imperial patriarch, and not the Oriental Orthodox Pope Timotheus Aelurus, chosen as Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria on the murder of Greek Patriarch Proterius of Alexandria.

Raphael's The Meeting between Leo the Great and Attila depicts Leo, escorted by Saint Peter and Saint Paul, meeting with the Hun king outside RomeThe approaching collapse of the Western Empire gave Leo a further opportunity to appear as the representative of lawful authority.

In 452, when the King of the Huns, Attila, invaded Italy and threatened Rome, Emperor Valentinian III sent three envoys to negotiate with him: the two high civil officers Gennadius Avienus and Trigetius, and Leo. The negotiation was successful, and Attila withdrew. The reasons for this choice have been debated among historians for centuries. Pragmatic concerns such as the large sum of gold that accompanied Leo, or logistical and strategic concerns, may have been the true reason for Attila's mercy. Attila's army was already quite stretched and full of booty from plunder; as such the Pope's plea for mercy may well have merely served as an honorable excuse for not continuing on and sacking the Roman capital.

However, Christian historians celebrated Leo's actions, giving him all the credit for this successful embassy; according to Prosper of Aquitaine, in fact, Attila was so impressed by Leo that he withdrew.Jordanes, who represents Leo's contemporary Priscus, says that Attila was afraid of sharing the fate of the Visigothic king Alaric, who died shortly after sacking Rome in 410. Paul the Deacon, in the late 8th century, relates that an enormously huge man dressed in priestly robes and armed with a naked sword, visible only to Attila, threatened him and his army with death during his discourse with Leo, and this prompted Attila to submit to his request.[4] Unfortunately Leo's intercession could not prevent the sack of the city by the Vandals in 455, but murder and arson were repressed by his influence. He died probably on November 10, 461.

The significance of Leo's pontificate lies in the fact of his assertion of the universal jurisdiction of the Roman bishop, which comes out in his letters, and still more in his ninety-six extant orations. This assertion is commonly referred to as the doctrine of Petrine supremacy.

According to him and several Church Fathers, as well as certain interpretations of the Scriptures, the Church is built upon Peter, in pursuance of the promise of Matthew 16:16-19. Peter participates in everything which is Christ's; what the other apostles have in common with him they have through him. What is true of Peter is true also of his successors. Every other bishop is charged with the care of his own special flock, the Roman with that of the whole Church. Other bishops are only his assistants in this great task. In Leo's eyes the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon acquired their validity from his confirmation.

Leo's letters and sermons reflect the many aspects of his career and personality, including his great personal influence for good, and are invaluable historical sources. His rhythmic prose style, called cursus leonicus, influenced ecclesiastical language for centuries.

The Catholic Church and many Anglican churches mark November 10 as the feast day of Saint Leo, given in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum and the 8th-century Calendar of Saint Willibrord the date of his death and entry to heaven. His feast was once celebrated in Rome on June 28, the anniversary of the placing of his relics in Saint Peter's Basilica, but in the 12th century the Gallican Rite feast of April 11 was admitted to the General Roman Calendar, which kept that date until 1969. Some traditionalist Catholics continue to observe pre-1970 versions of that calendar.

The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Saint Leo on February 18.

Leo was originally buried in his own monument. However, some years after his death, his remains were put into a tomb that contained the first four Pope Leos. In the 18th century Leo the Great's relics were separated from those of the other Leos and he was given his own chapel.

Source Wikipedia

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Feast of the dedication of the Latheran Basilica

Homily for November 9th - Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran

by Fr. Tommy Lane

We celebrate today the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome because it is the head and mother church of all churches in the world. On the façade of the basilica there is an inscription in Latin which reads, “the mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world.” One might think St. Peter’s Basilica is the head of all the churches but in fact it is the Basilica of St. John Lateran. Every bishop has a cathedral and the Pope’s cathedral is the Basilica of St. John Lateran not the Basilica of St. Peter.

You may ask “Why is the Basilica of St. John Lateran the Pope’s cathedral and not the Basilica of St. Peter since he lives next to St. Peter's Basilica?” History gives us the answer. In the early centuries Christianity was outlawed in Rome and many Christians in Rome suffered martyrdom. The Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and the famous Edict of Milan in 313 AD allowed Christians to practice their religion in public. Constantine had been given the palace in Rome that belonged to the Laterani and after his conversion to Christianity he gave it to the Pope. The Lateran Palace was then adapted to become a church and was dedicated on 9th November 324 and the Pope then lived in the Lateran Palace as it was called for the next 1000 years and the basilica was his cathedral. It was first called the Basilica of the Savior but later was also dedicated to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist and so it acquired the name Basilica of St. John Lateran. When the Papacy transferred to Avignon for about a century the condition of the Lateran deteriorated so much that when the Papacy returned to Rome the Pope lived in two other locations before finally settling adjacent to St. Peter's Basilica where he now lives.

Perhaps we could say that the many times the Basilica suffered destruction of some kind is a symbol of the attacks on the Church and the hatred of some for the Church. The Basilica was attacked by the Vandals twice in 408 and 455. It was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake in 896 and it was destroyed by fire in 1308 and 1360. The Basilica is visited by huge numbers of pilgrims every year also symbolizing the love of so many people for the Church.

Those who visit the Basilica on pilgrimage visit it not just because it is the head of all churches and the Pope’s cathedral. The wooden altar on which St. Peter celebrated Mass while in Rome is inside the main altar. The heads of Sts Peter and Paul were once believed to be inside busts above the main altar. Part of the table on which the Last Supper was celebrated is said to be behind a bronze depiction of the Last Supper. At one time the Holy Stairs which is nearby was also in the Lateran, the stairs in Pilate's house on which Jesus is said to have walked during his trial. It is a marble stairs and is now covered with wood to protect it. Pilgrims ascend the stairs on their knees contemplating Jesus’ Passion and on the way up drops of blood may be seen on the marble stairs beneath protective glass. The stairs was brought to Rome by Constantine’s mother St. Helena.

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

The current archpriest of St. John Lateran is Agostino Vallini, Cardinal Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome.[1] The President of the French Republic, currently Nicolas Sarkozy, is ex officio the "first and only honorary canon" of the basilica, a title inherited from the Kings of France, who have held it since Henry IV.

As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, containing the papal throne (Cathedra Romana), it ranks above all other churches in the Catholic Church, including St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The cathedral itself is located outside of the Vatican City boundaries, territorially located within the city of Rome in the Italian Republic. However it has been granted a special extraterritorial status as a property of the Holy See. This is also the case with several other buildings after the solving of the Roman Question with the Lateran Treaty.

Source Wikipedia

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Epistle of James

It was a week ago that I came across an ad on the Church bulletin on an upcoming Bible class that will touch on the Epitlse of James. Bible classes would normally involve one of the Gospels or The Acts of the Apostles. To have one on James was rather unusual in my opinion.

The book is attributed the James the brother of Jesus(see Matthew 13:55 and Galatians 1:19).One has to be careful with the word "Brother" .In Greek terms the title brother could encompass one's cousin.

James was an eyewitness to the Resurection of Christ (1 corinthians 15:7). He was present at the Council of Jerusalem(Acts 15).The Letter of James was most likely written in lates 50s to early 60s based on James' clarification of misunderstandings of Paul's teachings on faith and works (2:14-26).James led the Jerusalem church for more than a decade until his matyrdom in Ad 62 when he was stoned to death by the Jews.(Josephus ,antiquities 20,9,12-203)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wind could have parted Red Sea for Moses?

Reuters - Wednesday, September 22

WASHINGTON - Moses might not have parted the Red Sea, but a strong east wind that blew through the night could have pushed the waters back in the way described in biblical writings and the Koran, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

Computer simulations, part of a larger study on how winds affect water, show wind could push water back at a point where a river bent to merge with a coastal lagoon, the team at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado at Boulder said.

"The simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus," Carl Drews of NCAR, who led the study, said in a statement.

"The parting of the waters can be understood through fluid dynamics. The wind moves the water in a way that's in accordance with physical laws, creating a safe passage with water on two sides and then abruptly allowing the water to rush back in."

Religious texts differ a little in the tale, but all describe Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt ahead of a pharaoh's armies around 3,000 years ago. The Red Sea parts to let Moses and his followers pass safely, then crashes back onto the pursuers, drowning them.

Drews and colleagues are studying how Pacific Ocean typhoons can drive storm surges and other effects of strong and sustained winds on deep water.

His team pinpointed a possible site south of the Mediterranean Sea for the legendary crossing, and modeled different land formations that could have existed then and perhaps led to the accounts of the sea appearing to part.

The model requires a U-shaped formation of the Nile River and a shallow lagoon along the shoreline. It shows that a wind of 63 miles per hour, blowing steadily for 12 hours, could have pushed back waters 6 feet deep.

"This land bridge is 3-4 km wide, and it remains open for 4 hours," they wrote in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE.

"People have always been fascinated by this Exodus story, wondering if it comes from historical facts," Drews said. "What this study shows is that the description of the waters parting indeed has a basis in physical laws."

Details of the model described can be seen at and

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Feast Day of Saint Claire

St. Clare of Assisi was born in Assisi, 12 miles outside of Perugia, as the eldest daughter of Favorino Scifi, Count of Sasso-Rosso and his wife Ortolana. Ortolana was a very devout woman who had undertaken pilgrimages to Rome, Santiago de Compostela and the Holy Land. Later on in her life, Ortolana entered Clare's monastery.

On March 20, 1212, Clare's parents had decided she would marry a wealthy young man. In desperation Clare escaped her home and sought refuge with St. Francis, who received her into religious life.

Clare lived for a brief period in a nearby Benedictine monastery of nuns, San Paolo delle Abadesse, and then again for a short period at a house of female penitents, Sant'Angelo in Panza on Monte Subasio.

Clare and Agnes soon moved to the church of San Damiano, which Francis himself had rebuilt. Other women joined them there, and San Damiano became known for its radically austere lifestyle. The women were at first known as the "Poor Ladies".

San Damiano became the focal point for Clare's new religious order, which was known in her lifetime as the "Order of San Damiano." San Damiano was long thought to be the first house of this order, however, recent scholarship strongly suggests that San Damiano actually joined an existing network of women's religious houses organized by Hugolino (who later became Pope Gregory IX). Hugolino wanted San Damiano as part of the order he founded because of the prestige of Clare's monastery. San Damiano emerged as the most important house in the order, and Clare became its undisputed leader. By 1263, just ten years after Clare's death, the order became known as the Order of Saint Clare.

Saint Clare miraculously intervenes to save a child from a wolf, in this panel by Giovanni di Paolo, 1455.Unlike the Franciscan friars, whose members moved around the country to preach, Saint Clare's sisters lived in enclosure, since an itinerant life was hardly conceivable at the time for women. Their life consisted of manual labour[4] and prayer.

For a short period of time the order was directed by Francis himself.Then in 1216, Clare accepted the role of abbess of San Damiano. As abbess, Clare had more authority to lead the order than when she was the prioress, who had to follow the orders of a priest heading the community.[6] Clare defended her order from the attempts of prelates to impose a rule on them that more closely resembled the Rule of St Benedict than Francis' stricter vows. Clare sought to imitate Francis' virtues and way of life so much so that she was sometimes titled alter Franciscus, another Francis. She also played a significant role in encouraging and aiding Francis, whom she saw as a spiritual father figure, and she took care of him during his illnesses at the end of his life, until his death in 1226.

After Francis's death, Clare continued to promote the growth of her order, writing letters to abbesses in other parts of Europe and thwarting every attempt by each successive pope to impose a Rule on her order which watered down the radical commitment to corporate poverty she had originally embraced. She did this despite the fact that she had endured a long period of poor health until her death. Clare's Franciscan theology of joyous poverty in imitation of Christ is evident in the Rule she wrote for her community and in her four letters to Agnes of Prague.

On August 9, 1253, the Papal bull Solet annure of Pope Innocent IV confirmed that Clare's Rule would serve as the governing rule for Clare's Order of Poor Ladies. Two days later, on August 11, Clare died at the age of 59. Her remains were interred at the chapel of San Giorgio while a church to hold her remains was being constructed.

Basilica of Saint Clare, Assisi.On August 15, 1255, Pope Alexander IV canonized Clare as Saint Clare of Assisi. Construction of the Basilica of Saint Clare was completed in 1260, and on October 3 of that year Clare's remains were transferred to the newly completed basilica where they were buried beneath the high altar. In further recognition of the saint, Pope Urban IV officially changed the name of the Order of Poor Ladies to the Order of Saint Clare in 1263.

Some 600 years later in 1872, Saint Clare's remains were transferred to a newly constructed shrine in the crypt of the Basilica of Saint Clare where they can still be seen today.

Pope Pius XII designated her as the patron saint of television in 1958, on the basis that when she was too ill to attend Mass, she had reportedly been able to see and hear it on the wall of her room. The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) was founded by a Poor Clare nun, Mother Angelica.

In art, Clare is often shown carrying a monstrance or pyx, in commemoration of the time when she warded away the soldiers of Frederick II at the gates of her convent by displaying the Blessed Sacrament and kneeling in prayer.

Lake Saint Clair and the Saint Clair River in the Great Lakes region of North America were named on her feast day August 11, 1679. Mission Santa Clara, founded by Spanish missionaries in northern California in 1777, has given its name to the university, city, county, and valley in which it sits. Southern California's Santa Clara River is hundreds of miles to the south, and gave its name to the nearby city of Santa Clarita. Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico celebrates its Santa Clara Feast Day annually on August 11.

In the Tridentine Calendar her feast day is celebrated as a Double on August 11. It was changed to a Third-Class Feast in 1960 (see General Roman Calendar of 1962), and in the 1969 calendar became an obligatory Memorial celebrated on the day of her death, August 11. Although her body is no longer claimed to be incorrupt, her skeleton is displayed in Assisi.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Feast Day of St Lawrence of Rome

Lawrence of Rome (c. 225 – 258) (Latin: Laurentius, meaning "laurelled") was one of the seven deacons of ancient Rome who were martyred during the persecution of Valerian in 258.

Lawrence a native of Huesca (Roman Osca) in Hispania Tarraconensis who had received religious instruction from Archdeacon Sixtus in Rome. When Sixtus became Bishop of Rome in 257, Lawrence was ordained a deacon and was placed in charge of the administration of Church goods and care for the poor. For this duty, he is regarded as one of the first archivists and treasurers of the Church and was made the patron of librarians.

In the persecutions under Valerian in 258 A.D., numerous priests and deacons were put to death, while Christians belonging to the nobility or the Roman Senate were deprived of their goods and exiled. Pope Sixtus II was one of the first victims of this persecution, being beheaded on August 6. A legend cited by St Ambrose of Milan says that Lawrence met the Pope on his way to his execution, where he is reported to have said, "Where are you going, my dear father, without your son? Where are you hurrying off to, holy priest, without your deacon? Before you never mounted the altar of sacrifice without your servant, and now you wish to do it without me?" The Pope is reported to have prophesied that "after three days you will follow me".

Lawrence is said to have been martyred on a gridiron as a part of Valerian's persecution. During his torture Lawrence cried out "This side’s done, turn me over and have a bite." ["Assum est, inquit, versa et manduca."] [5] This is the legend often quoted explaining why Lawrence is the Patron Saint of Comedians, butchers and roasters.

Cyprian, the contemporary bishop of Carthage mentions the directive of Valerian that Christian bishops, priests, and deacons should forthwith be punished, and records the martyrdom of Xystus bishop of Rome, in accordance with it on August 6 . Cyprian was reported to have seen visions of Jesus.

According to lore, among the treasure of the Roman church entrusted to Lawrence for safe-keeping was the Holy Chalice, the cup from which Jesus and the Apostles drank at the Last Supper. Lawrence was able to spirit this away to Huesca, in present day Aragon, with a letter and a supposed inventory, where it lay hidden and unregarded for centuries. When Augustine connects Lawrence with a chalice, it is the chalice of the Mass:

"For in that Church, you see, as you have regularly been told, he performed the office of deacon; it was there that he administered the sacred chalice of Christ’s blood"."[7]
According to Christian history the Holy Grail is a relic that was sent by St. Lawrence to his parents in northern Aragon. He entrusted this sacred chalice to a friend whom he knew would travel back to Huesca, remaining in the monastery of Saint John of Pena, core of spiritual strength for the emerging kingdom of Aragon. While the Holy Chalice's exact journey through the centuries is disputed, it is generally accepted by Catholics that the Chalice was sent by his family to this monastery for preservation and veneration. Historical records indicate that this chalice has been venerated and preserved by a number of monks and monasteries through the ages. Today the Holy Grail is venerated in a special chapel in the Catholic Cathedral of Valencia, Spain.

After the death of Sixtus, the prefect of Rome demanded that Lawrence turn over the riches of the Church. Ambrose is the earliest source for the tale that Lawrence asked for three days to gather together the wealth.[8] Lawrence worked swiftly to distribute as much Church property to the poor as possible, so as to prevent its being seized by the prefect. On the third day, at the head of a small delegation, he presented himself to the prefect, and when ordered to give up the treasures of the Church, he presented the poor, the crippled, the blind and the suffering, and said that these were the true treasures of the Church. One account records him declaring to the prefect, "The Church is truly rich, far richer than your emperor." This act of defiance led directly to his martyrdom. This can be compared to the parallel Roman tale of the jewels of Cornelia.

By tradition, Lawrence was sentenced at San Lorenzo in Miranda, martyred at San Lorenzo in Panisperna, and buried in the Via Tiburtina in the Catacomb of Cyriaca by Hippolytus and Justinus, a presbyter. Tradition holds that Lawrence was burned or "grilled" to death, hence his association with the gridiron. Tradition also holds that Lawrence joked about their cooking him enough to eat while he was burning on the gridiron, hence his patronage of cooks and chefs, stating something along the lines of, "turn me over...I'm done on this side". One of the early sources for the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence was the description by Aurelius Prudentius Clemens in his Peristephanon, Hymn II.

Constantine I is said to have built a small oratory in honour of the martyr, which was a station on the itineraries of the graves of the Roman martyrs by the 7th century. Pope Damasus I rebuilt or repaired the church, now known as San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, while the minor basilica of San Lorenzo in Panisperna was built over the place of his martyrdom. The gridiron of the martyrdom was placed by Pope Paschal II in the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina.