Saint Lorenzo and the city of Alba

The Reliquary of the Saint is preserved in the cathedral

The cathedral of Alba is devoted to his patron of the city, martyred Lorenzo. Every year on 10th August  there is a patronal feast which take a particular interest in the citizens. During this feast there are a lot of events and celebrations. In this occasion are planned amazing tours in the Underground Alba (for details and reservations, required by the previous day, click here).

The Saint Martyred

In iconography, since the first Christianity,SaintLorenzo is represented as a young deacon clothed with the dalmatic, with the attribute of grillon, indicating the technique of torture; the palm of the martyrdom and the treasure bag  of the Roman Church from him distributed to poor people, according to the hagiographic texts. Legend and historical truth are mixed as particulars of the Laurentian story. Both are useful to understand the Christian meaning of the saint figure.

In the period of the great persecution of the emperor Valerian (III century), he radically meant to hit the heads of the Church, Lorenzo, deacon of the Roman Church in the service of Pope Sisto II, led to martyrdom, received the intimation of the prefect Cornelio Secolare concerning the delivery of the “Church’s treasures”. Lorenzo distributes the sale’s proceeds of goods to poor people and presents these to the prefect as authentic treasures of the Christ Church. He was sent to martyrdom with the torture of the execution (distinguishing mark of iconographic recognition of the saint).

Legendary features are questioning this relative aspect of his death, but compelling documents show that the deacon was martyred the 10 of August of 258 in the Tiburtina street.

The cemetery took then take the name of Saint Lorenzo. On his sepulchre, Costantino (IV century)built the great Basilica agrum Venanum.

A detail of the statue of the saint inserted in the facade of the Cathedral

Soon his cult was far-reaching in Rome and in Christianity, also were build a lots of churches in his honor. From the V century and during the Middle Age, there wasn’t any diocese or city which didn’t have a church dedicated to him.

The old albese diocese (V-VI centuries)  awards the title of its cathedral  to his young martyr, the most loved in Rome since his origins. This proves the age and the authority of which the Albese Church always bragging (confer the title to a saint martyr so ancient and important is a prerogative of the venues of the most ancient foundation). Also in several medieval albese documents are mentioned religious functions and civil actions in the Church of Saint Lorenzo or under arches of Saint Lorenzo deacon and martyr. Even day Saint Lorenzo, together with Saint Teobaldo, is the patron of the city of Alba.