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Page 212 of Missal of Ludovico da Romagnano. Photo courtesy of ICE.

A customs investigation has turned up a missing manuscript page that tells the story of San Lorenzo, a 3rd Century martyr. But the Holy Grail remains missing.

San Lorenzo (Latin: Laurentius. English: St. Lawrence of Rome. American: Larry) was born in Spain around 225 and made his way to Rome.

He was appointed archdeacon of Rome by his buddy, Sixtus II, who was named pope in 257. Back then, the title of pope didn’t carry as much clout as it does today, as shown by the fact that Sixtus was executed by Roman authorities a year later.

That put Lorenzo in a perdicament because the Romans demanded he hand over the Church’s riches. According to the story, he instead gave the treasure to the poor and entrusted the Holy Grail to friend who smuggled it off to Spain. Lorenzo then showed up at the Roman prefect’s office with the empoverished and disabled declaring them to be the church’s true treasures.

And the Romans roasted him alive.

Meanwhile, the Grail made its way to the British Isles, where it was hunted by King Arthur before landing in Petra, Jordan, where it was discovered by Indiana Jones, who used it to save Sir Sean Connery, if I’m reading my history right.

In the 1400s, a Lombardian monk wrote about Larry and drew a picture of him on page 212 of the handwritten Missal of Ludovico da Romagnano, which was later filed in the Turin archives next to some old shroud. A husband and wife team hired to inventory the archives in the 1990s allegedly swiped Lorenzo’s entry and 262 other pages from the missal and sold them to a bookseller.

Skip ahead to 2011 when an officer on Italy’s cultural property team stumbled on a internet newspaper article about a Florida museum exhibit titled “Blood and Ink” (I’m thinking tattoo exhibit) that featured page 212. American customs got involved, and now Larry’s entry is headed back to Italy.

Read more about it here.

St. Lawrence on Wikipedia.

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