diācon, m.n: a deacon. (“dee-ah-kohn”) Aug 10 is the feast of famous deacon St Lawrence.

Þænne forð gewat / ymb ϸreo niht ϸæs   ϸeodne getrywe / ϸurh martyrdom,   mære diacon, / Laurentius;   hæfð nu lif wið ϸan / mid wuldorfæder   weorca to leane.

The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 143b-47

Then departed forth, after three nights, the one loyal to the Lord, the famous deacon Laurence, through martyrdom; in return for this, he is now given a life with the heavenly Father as a reward for his deeds.

– Trans. by Kazutomo Karasawa

Kazutomo Karasawa says, ‘St Laurence is one of those who died in the persecution of Valerian in 258. Among the victims of the persecution were Pope Sixtus II and six other deacons, but St Laurence has been one of the most honoured martyrs of the Roman Church since the fourth century; hence he is mentioned as a mære diacon (145b) “famous deacon”.’*

*K. Karasawa, The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015), p. 113


St Lawrence with his many fish, from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, a Book of Hours produced in the Netherlands c. 1440. From Jo the Librarian.

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