Tuesday, February 26, 2013

St. Sebastian

St. Sebastian was a third-century martyr. He was born in Gaul but lived in Milan. He was an officer in the imperial guard; it is said he joined the army so he could defend confessors and martyrs without drawing too much attention. He encouraged believers to keep their faith as they were tortured and martyred. When the emperor Diocletian found out that Sebastian was a Christian in 286, he ordered Sebastian killed. He was shot with arrows, which is how he is often depicted. However, when St. Irene of Rome retrieved his body, she discovered that he was still alive. She nursed him back to health. He went to the emperor and criticized him for his treatment of Christians. As a result, Sebastian was clubbed to death and buried along the Via Appia. He is sometimes called the saint who was martyred twice.

In the Middle Ages, St. Sebastian was known as the protector from the bubonic plague. His feast day is January 20. He is the patron of archers, athletes, and soldiers.

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