Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Tears of St Lawrence

Stargazers are preparing for the annual Perseids meteor shower which takes place around the date of the feast of St Lawrence. They are so named because of the 'burning tears' of St Lawrence who was martyred by the Emperor Valerian. Lawrence, a Deacon of the Church was asked to bring to Valerian the treasures of the Church while the Church was under persecution and brought to him the poor, sick and lame of the Church and presented them before the Emperor as the true treasures of the Church, having sold or distributed the earthly vessels of the Church and given to them to the Poor. 

For his faith and loyalty to God he was grilled to death. His martyrdom took place in 258 AD on an iron outdoor stove. During this torture, Lawrence was said to have cried out, “I am already roasted on one side and, if thou wouldst have me well cooked, it is time to turn me on the other.”

The saint’s death was commemorated on his feast day, Aug. 10. The great number of shooting stars seen annually between approximately Aug. 8 and 14 have come to be known as St. Lawrence’s “fiery tears.” We know today that these meteors are actually the dross of the Swift-Tuttle comet. A very good shower will produce about one meteor per minute in a dark country sky. Any light pollution or moonlight will obviously lower the count.

These 'perseids' which are visible the World over annually were named the Tears of St Lawrence in honour of his Feast. Click here for more stargazing info.


Mulier Fortis said...

Off topic, and I hope you don't mind, but you've been tagged for a meme.

Mike said...

Very cool! I am an amateur astronomer and didn't know this.

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