St Sebastian

St. Sebastian
St Sebastian
Feast Day 20 January
Martyred 287 AD

Sebastian was born of good family and served Emperor Diocletian as Captain of the Praetorian Guard. Unbeknown to the emperor, he was also a Christian. Converting prisoners to Christianity drew him to the attention of the emperor who commanded he should be tied to a stake and shot full of arrows. However, the arrows did not quite kill him and he was nursed back to health by St Irene of Rome.

Fully recovered, he lost no time in berating Diocletian as he passed by. This time the emperor ordered him to be beaten to death and his body was thrown into a privy. Sebastian appeared in an apparition to a friend and told her where his body could be found so that it could be buried in the catacombs.

He became the patron saint of Palma de Mallorca in 1524 when a relic –a bone from the arm of the saint– arrived from Rhodes by boat, bringing a miraculous end to the current plague. The relic is now in Palma Cathedral.

He is the patron saint of soldiers, plagues, arrows and athletes. Unofficially, he is also the patron saint of youths and homosexuals, possibly on account of the sadomasochist imagery of the semi-nude youth riddled with arrows.