Saint Sebastian
(Patron Saint of Archers, Armorers, Metal Workers, and Police)

Saint Sebastian (20k jpg)

Sebastian was born in Narbonne, Gaul, the son of a wealthy Roman family. Officer of the Imperial Roman army and captain of the guard. Favorite of Diocletian. During Diocletian's persecution of the Christians, Sebastian visited them in prison, bringing them supplies and some comfort. Sebastian reported to have healed by making the sign of the Cross over the wife of a brother soldier--supposedly an archer. He was responsible for the conversion of many soldiers and a governor. Charged as a Christian, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. He survived, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian. In a rage at his recovery the emperor then had him beaten to death some time in 288.

During the 14th century, the random nature of infection with the Black Death caused people to liken the plague to their villages being shot by an army of nature's archers. In desperation they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archery, and Saint Sebastian became associated with the plague.

His Feast Day is January 20.

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Updated 2005-10-07