Saint Lawrence is known as the patron saint of libraries and archives. He was one of seven deacons in the third century and was the keeper of the records and archives of the early church. He died a martyr’s death when he refused to give up these treasures of the church, including the names of Christians, to the Roman Emperor Valerian. The legend goes that instead of bringing gold and other valuables, he gathered all of the poor and crippled members of the Christian church and told the emperor, “These are the treasures of the church!” The legend continues that he was slowly roasted on an open fire in hopes that he would renounce his religion and surrender the treasures the emperor was hoping for, but it is unlikely that he actually died this way. Even so, St. Lawrence is also known as the patron saint of cooks because of the way he was presumed to have died. The feast of St. Lawrence is celebrated by librarians and archivists on August 10th, the anniversary of his death, usually by a meal of cold cuts in reference to his legendary death. St. Lawrence was later honored by Constantine with what would become the basilica of San Lorenzo, and several Catholic saints have added to the honor of his memory.
Kirsch, J.P. (1910). St. Lawrence. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved August 10, 2011 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09089a.htm
Hadden, R. Lee (1999 ). Saint Lawrence. Retrieved August 10, 2011 from LIS505 Notes: Saint Lawrence: http://valinor.ca/lawrence.html