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The Holy Martyr Sebastian

On December 31st (the 18th by the old calendar) the Church commemorates the holy martyr Sebastian.

Holy martyr Sebastian
Holy martyr Sebastian

St. Sebastian came from a wealthy and prominent Roman family. After receiving a superior education, he entered the military service. With his courage, intelligence, and kindness he drew universal attention to himself and soon became a favorite of Emperor Diocletian. While outwardly remaining a pagan, Sebastian was a Christian at heart and kept this secret not out of fear of martyrdom, but because in this way he could visit without any hindrance the prisons that were overflowing with Christian martyrs, and could to some degree relieve their heavy lot. But soon Sebastian himself experienced a burning desire to suffer for Christ. An opportunity soon presented itself. In one of the prisons there were two Christian brothers Marcus and Marcelin, who after many torments were condemned to execution. The relatives of the condemned brothers tearfully began to plead with them to save their lives by renouncing Christ.

Hearing of this, Sebastian came to them and in a fiery speech denounced the faintheartedness of the relatives, spoke at length of the vainness of paganism and of the pagans terrible torments after death, and of the eternal rapture of Christians, especially martyrs for Christ. Sebastians words were so convincing that not only the hesitating Christians, but even the pagans who were present came to believe in Christ, including the prison administrator and his wife. Hearing of this, Emperor Diocletian ordered St. Sebastian to be killed with arrows: the soldiers pierced the uncovered martyr with a multitude of arrows and then bludgeoned him to death.

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