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Sebastian

From Academic Kids

This article is about Saint Sebastian. See also Sebastian (disambiguation).


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Sebastia.jpg
St Sebastian, by Mantegna

Saint Sebastian (d. 286) was a Christian saint and martyr, who died under the persecution of Christians by the Eastern Roman emperor Diocletian in the 3rd century. His name may actually derive from the cognomen "Sebastianus".

According to his apocryphal Acts, attributed to Saint Ambrose of Milan, he was a soldier who enlisted in the Roman army around 283. Diocletian, unaware that he was a Christian, appointed him as a captain of the Praetorian Guard. By 286, Sebastian was reportedly known for having kindly treated Christian prisoners due for martyrdom. Diocletian reproached him for his supposed ingratitude and ordered him executed by arrows. He survived and returned to preach to Diocletian. Subsequently the emperor ordered Sebastian to be beaten to death.

However one should note that Diocletian only issued an edict authorizing the systematic persecution of Christians across the Empire in 303, placing the traditional death of Sebastian before the persecution.

This method of execution made Sebastian a favourite for paintings. Sebastian is usually depicted in art as a somewhat effete youth tied to a stake and transfixed by several arrows. Sebastian was formerly one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers until that cult was suppressed in the reform of the Roman Catholic liturgy in 1969. Sebastian's own feast day is January 20.

Sebastian, like Saint George, was one of a class of military martyrs and soldier saints, whose cults originated in the 4th century and culminated at the end of the Middle Ages, in the 14th and 15th centuries, both in the East and the West. Details of their martyrologies may provoke some skepticism among modern readers, but certain consistent patterns emerge that are revealing of Christian attitudes.

External links

es:San Sebastián (mártir) fr:Saint Sébastien nl:Sint Sebastiaan pt:São Sebastião

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