Saint Sebastian, Martyr

December 18 is the Feast of the Martyr Sebastian, at Rome, and his companions: Martyrs Nicostratus, Zoe, Castorius, Tranquillinus, Marcellinus, Mark, Claudius, Symphorian, Victorinus, Tiburtius, and Castulus. Saint Sebastian (died c. 288) was an early Christian saint and martyr. It is said that he was killed during the Roman emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. He is commonly depicted in art and literature tied to a post or tree and shot with arrows.
“St. Sebastian, having sent so many martyrs to heaven before him, was himself impeached before the Emperor Diocletian, who, having grievously reproached him with ingratitude, delivered him over to certain archers of Mauritania, to be shot to death. His body was covered with arrows, and he left for dead. Irene, the widow of St. Castulus, going to bury him, found him still alive, and took him to her lodgings, where, by care, he recovered of his wounds, but refused to flee, and even placed himself one day by a staircase where the emperor was to pass, whom he first accosted, reproaching him for his unjust cruelties against the Christians. This freedom of speech, and from a person, too, whom he supposed to have been dead, greatly astonished the emperor; but, recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for his being seized and beat to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady, called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus.”
Butler’s Lives of the Saints:
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“Since thou wast great in zeal for godly religion, thou didst assemble an alliance of Martyrs, and in their midst, thou shonest like a flashing star. With the arrows that did pierce thy much-suffering body, thou didst slay the enemy, O Great Martyr Sebastian; and thou thyself didst fly as from a bow into the Heavens, where Christ hath received thy soul.”
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HYMN OF PRAISE: The Holy Martyr Sebastian

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich of Ohrid and Žiča or Nikolaj Velimirović (Serbian Cyrillic: Николај Велимировић; 1881-1956) was bishop of Ohrid and of Žiča in the Serbian Orthodox Church, an influential theological writer and a highly gifted orator, therefore also known as The New Chrysostom.
Holy Sebastian was covered with arrows-
With a hair shirt of arrows his body was clothed.
But, beneath the arrows, his soul was unscathed;
His heart was raised to the heavens in prayer.

Sebastian endured suffering for Christ.
What are mighty kingdoms, what are great riches,
Compared with this honor, compared with this illumination-
To be struck by arrows for the sake of the Living God?

Wonderful Sebastian desired this:
To be crucified for the crucified Savior,
To confirm the truth by suffering and blood,
To witness the Faith before heaven and earth.

The All-seeing Lord, Who sees all creation,
Measured and counted every drop of blood,
And rewarded Sebastian in the Eternal Kingdom,
Showering him with blessings without measure.

O Martyr most-glorious, who suffered for Christ,
And by your suffering enlarged the Church:
Pray to God for the Church on earth,
That it become ever more beautiful, and all the more great.

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For more on Saint Sebastian, see

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