Saint Sebastian

detail from the painting 'Saint Sebastian Muhlenkort'; Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, 1525, oil on canvas; Galleria Palatina, Florence, ItalyMemorial


Son of a wealthy Roman family. Educated in Milan. Officer of the Imperial Roman army, and captain of the guard. Favorite of Diocletian. During Diocletian‘s persecution of the Christians, Sebastian visited them in prison, bringing supplies and comfort. Reported to have healed the wife of a brother soldier by making the Sign of the Cross over her. Converted soldiers and a governor to Christianity.

Charged as a Christian, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. He survived, and with the help of Saint Irene, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian. The emperor then had him beaten to death.

During the 14th century, the random nature of infection with the Black Death caused people to liken the plague to their villages being shot by an army of nature’s archers. In desperation, they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archers, and Saint Sebastian became associated with the plague.







O God, who did bestow on blessed Sebastian, your martyr, such wonderful strength of valour in his sufferings for You: grant us, after his example, to condemn, for love of You, all earthly prosperity, and to dread no sort of adversity. – Gregorian Sacramentary

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Sebastian“. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 September 2021. Web. 18 January 2022. <>