Laurence was one of the seven deacons of the Church of Rome and was executed on 10th August 258, four days after Sixtus II and his companions. By now, few of the facts of his life are known for certain: he was probably a Spaniard from Toledo.
A basilica was built over Laurence’s tomb fifty years after his death, by the Emperor Constantine, and the anniversary of his martyrdom was kept as a solemn feast – with considerably more solemnity than that of Pope Sixtus II (we do not know why). By the sixth century, it was one of the most important feasts throughout much of western Christendom. His name occurs (with Sixtus’s) in the Roman Canon of the Mass.
St Ambrose of Milan relates that when St Lawrence was asked for the treasures of the Church he brought forward the poor, among whom he had divided the treasure as alms.[ "Behold in these poor persons the treasures which I promised to show you; to which I will add pearls and precious stones, those widows and consecrated virgins, which are the church's crown." The prefect was so angry that he had a great gridiron prepared, with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence's body placed on it (hence St Lawrence's association with the gridiron). After the martyr had suffered the pain for a long time, the legend concludes, he made his famous cheerful remark, "turn me over, I'm done on this side"