Fantastic engraving of San Lorenzo (St Laurence) with two skulls above his head and inscription 'S. Lorenzo fuori delle Mura' (Saint Lawrence outside the Walls). He has the iron grill in one hand, which represents his martyrdom (roasted on an iron grill over a slow fire). See below.
Religious stamp LR.
Right side of document folded, not affecting text. Slight vertical and horizontal folds. Light rust spots.
23 X 10.5 cm
The Papal Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls (Italian: Basilica Papale di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura) is a Roman Catholic Papal minor basilica and parish church, located in Rome, Italy. The Basilica is one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome and one of the five former "patriarchal basilicas", each of which was assigned to the care of a Latin Church patriarchate. The Basilica was assigned to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Basilica is the shrine of the tomb of its namesake, Saint Lawrence (sometimes spelled "Laurence"), one of the first seven deacons of Rome who was martyred in 258. Many other saints and Bl. Pope Pius IX are also buried at the Basilica, which is the center of a large and ancient burial complex.
Saint Lawrence was one of seven deacons who were in charge of giving help to the poor and the needy. When a persecution broke out, Pope St. Sixtus was condemned to death. As he was led to execution, Lawrence followed him weeping, "Father, where are you going without your deacon?" he said. "I am not leaving you, my son," answered the Pope. "in three days you will follow me." Full of joy, Lawrence gave to the poor the rest of the money he had on hand and even sold expensive vessels to have more to give away.
The Prefect of Rome, a greedy pagan, thought the Church had a great fortune hidden away. So he ordered Lawrence to bring the Church's treasure to him. The Saint said he would, in three days. Then he went through the city and gathered together all the poor and sick people supported by the Church. When he showed them to the Prefect, he said: "This is the Church's treasure!"
In great anger, the Prefect condemned Lawrence to a slow, cruel death. The Saint was tied on top of an iron grill over a slow fire that roasted his flesh little by little, but Lawrence was burning with so much love of God that he almost did not feel the flames. In fact, God gave him so much strength and joy that he even joked. "Turn me over," he said to the judge. "I'm done on this side!" And just before he died, he said, "It's cooked enough now." Then he prayed that the city of Rome might be converted to Jesus and that the Catholic Faith might spread all over the world. After that, he went to receive the martyr's reward. Saint Lawrence's feast day is August 10th.