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St. Sebastian

Saint Sebastian


Sebastian was born in Gaul in the third century, but raised in Milan. Though a devout Christian, he voluntarily joined the Imperial Army in Rome, so that he might better support fellow Christians and especially the martyrs, by prayer and encouragement at their last moments. Through a miracle he worked by the Sign of the Cross he brought about many conversions, including that of a Roman prefect and his household. Despite this, Sebastian’s own faith remained hidden, and his reputation for bravery and honor was such that the new Emperors Diocletian and Maximian made him an officer of the Praetorian Guard. Soon several of his converts were discovered and martyred, however, and before long Sebastian himself was brought before the infamous Diocletian, who ordered the soldier executed by archers. Sebastian miraculously survived the onslaught of arrows, and nursed back to health by the widow St. Irene, but upon recovering he confronted and reproached the emperor, and was swiftly beaten to death with cudgels. His body was thrown into the public sewer, but was later recovered for veneration. Sebastian is a patron of soldiers and athletes, as well as against plague.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for January 20th

AT Rome, the birthday of St. Fabian, pope, who suffered martyrdom in the time of Decius, and was buried in the cemetery of Callistus.

In the same place, in the catacombs, the martyr St. Sebastian. He was commander of the first cohort, under the emperor Diocletian, but for professing Christianity he was bound to a tree in the centre of a vast field, shot with arrows by the soldiers, and beaten with clubs until he expired.

At Nicaea, in Bithynia, St. Neophytus, martyr, who, in the fifteenth year of his age, was scourged, cast into a furnace, and exposed to wild beasts; as he remained uninjured, and constantly confessed the faith of Christ, he was at last killed with the sword.

At Cesena, St. Maurus, bishop, renowned for virtues and miracles.

In Palestine, in the time of the emperor Marcian, the birthday of St. Euthymius, abbot, who adorned the Church by his zeal for Catholic discipline, and the gift of miracles.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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