Saint Lawrence before the Emperor Decius, Martyrdom, Lawrence’s Soul in Heaven
Scenes from the life of Saint Lawrence, derived from the biblical Acts of the Apostles and apocryphal sources, are represented in this double-capital. The narrative sequence begins on the narrow north side with the scene of the Saint appearing before the Emperor Decius. The emperor with crown and sceptre in his right hand is enthroned to the left, under an arch with semicircles and miniature architectural forms set in the spandrels. He turns towards the deacon Lawrence, who stands before him wearing a dalmatic with breast-plate. Both protagonists are identified with inscriptions on the abacus plate: DECIVS for the one, S: LAVRENCI for the other.
The long west side bears the inscription HIC TRI [...] AT: S: LAVRENCI : THESAVROS on the abacus plate; the inscription identifies the scene below, which it now hardly recognizable. Surmounted by two arches, Lawrence, in his role as administrator of the treasure of the church, distributes this to the poor; a representation in praise of charity to our fellowmen.
On the south side four figures are standing. One of them holds a sword in his hand. The scene might represent the conversion of the jailer Hippolytus, but the poor conservation of the stone permits no more precise identification of the figures.
Finally the martyrdom of the Saint is shown on the east side. Here too the details have been badly damaged by the erosion of the stone. At the centre below, the gridiron can be recognized: above it the soul of the dead martyr appears in a mandorla supported by two angels. Two devils accompany the scene. At the ends of the gridiron two kneeling figures kindle the fire below it. On the right side a man is grasping a stick in his raised hand. The inscription PASSIO SCI LAVR [EN] TII EST HI [...] accompanies the scene.