A Garner of Saints – Saint Sebastian

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Sebastian; signed Carmel du Mans et Hucher Rathois, date unknown; parish church of Notre-Dame in Bû, Center-Val de Loire, France; photographed on 15 August 2015 by GFreihalter; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Born at Narbonne and lived at Milan. He became a great favourite of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian, who gave him the command of their chief cohort, and in wisdom and virtue he excelled all the other soldiers. He wore the military costume in order to comfort the Christians who were taken to be martyred. When two noble youths, twin brothers, named Marcus and Marcellianus were being led to be beheaded for the faith, their parents employed every effort to induce them to recant, so that their resolution was shaken. But Sebastian broke into the midst of them and exhorted them to despise the present life, and to win the crown of martyrdom. This took place in the house of Nicostratus where the youths were in custody. And the wife of Nicostratus had lost the use of speech for six years, and kneeling on the floor she asked pardon of Sebastian by nods. At his prayer she received the gift of speech, and immediately declared that she had seen an angel near him who held an open book in his hand containing all the words which Sebastian had said. Near him stood seven other angels of shining white. At this miracle both Nicostratus and his wife believed and were baptized, together with the parents of the two youths. They chose to suffer martyrdom although Nicostratus offered to release them. After the martyrdom of Marcus and Marcellianus, their mother died, and the prefect Chromatius, being healed by Sebastian, was baptized, together with his son, all of them suflering martyrdom soon after. Sebastian also could not remain unobserved, and when the Emperor Diocletian heard of all that he had done, he accused him of ingratitude to the gods. When Sebastian said that he was a Christian and would always pray for the empire, Diocletian directed that he should be bound and that the archers should use him as a target. When they had covered him with arrows they left him believing him to be dead. However, a widow named Irene came by night to take the body away, and finding Sebastian to be still alive she carried him to her house and ministered to him. In a few days he was completely recovered, and standing on the steps of the palace he reproached the emperors for their unjust persecution of the Christians. And Diocletian was astonished, asking if he was not Sebastian who had been shot to death by arrows. To this the saint replied that he had been revived by Christ that he might chide them for the evil which they did. Then the emperor caused him to be taken into the Hippodrome of the palace and beaten to death. The body was thrown into a sewer, but that same night Sebastian appeared to Saint Lucy telling her where his body might be found, and asking her to bury him at the feet of the apostles; and this she did. Patron saint against the plague. 20th January.

Attribute

  • A figure transfixed by arrows.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Sebastian”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 April 2017. Web. 27 June 2017. <>