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.