St Laurence

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St Laurence was a deacon who worked closely with Pope Sixtus II. He is thought to have been born in Spain, at Huesca, a town in the Aragon region. According to legend he brought the Holy Grail - the chalice which Jesus used at the last supper, to Spain. Today the Holy Grail is venerated in a special chapel in Valencia Cathedral, Spain.

Laurence was martyred a few days after Pope Sixtus during the persecutions of the Emperor Valerian.

In the three days before he was executed he is said to have given everything he owned to the poor.

The prefect of Rome had ordered him to bring him the wealth of the church. Instead he gathered thousands of lepers, blind and sick people, orphans and widows, brought them to the prefect and said: "The church is truly rich, far richer than your emperor." Whereupon the prefect became so angry he took a red hot gridiron and killed St Laurence with it.

St Laurence died praying for the conversion of Rome. Five ancient basilicas are dedicated to him there. During mediaeval times his cult was immensely popular across Europe, particularly in Spain.

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