Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Sebastian (third century)

Saint Sebastian (third century)

Patron saint of athletes, archers, and soldiers

Feast day: January 20

Most of what we know about Saint Sebastian is according to legend, recorded as early as the year 350. Sebastian was born in Gaul in the third century AD, and raised in Milan, where his parents were from. He joined the military so that he could help and encourage the Christians who were being martyred.

One story recounts that two prisoners were about to give in and renounce their faith to save their lives, but Sebastian encouraged them to be faithful. He was so successful in convincing them, in fact, that many other prisoners converted.

Healing miracles are also attributed to him. Sebastian rose in the ranks of the army, but when he was found out as a Christian the emperor sentenced him to be shot to death. Sebastian was pierced with many arrows but survived. Irene, the widow of a martyr, found him and nursed him back to health. Later, Sebastian publicly confronted the emperor over his cruelty to Christians. The emperor had him beaten to death; Sebastian died in the late 200s.

He is the patron saint of athletes because of his physical endurance and his perseverance in spreading the faith.

(Image in public domain-100)