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St Edward's Catholic Academy

St Edward's Catholic Academy

St Sebastian

Our Amazing Saint Group during a Collective Worship gathering and Mr Cassidy living out the values of St Sebastian!

Who was Saint Sebastian?

A saint for athletes

(Died C. 288)

St Sebastian's Feast Day is celebrated on 20th January.

The first Christians saw a connection between the courage and endurance of the martyrs and the courage and endurance of athletes. In his second letter to St. Timothy, St. Paul, knowing that his martyrdom was not far off, compared himself to a boxer and a runner: “I have fought a good fight,” he said. “I have finished my course.” A few decades later, about the year 110, the martyr St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote to his fellow bishop St. Polycarp urging him to act like “an athlete of God [for whom] the prize is immortality and eternal life.”

Ignatius and Polycarp were elderly and Paul was probably in his 60s when they gave their lives for the Faith — perhaps not the most athletic period of their lives. But for centuries artists have portrayed St. Sebastian as a handsome young man with the physique of a personal trainer.

Although there is no doubt that there was a Roman martyr named Sebastian, and that devotion to him dates back to the fourth century, the earliest surviving life of the saint was written a century or more after his death. According to this story Sebastian was a Praetorian, a member of an elite troop of soldiers who served as the emperor’s bodyguard. When Emperor Diocletian began his persecution of the Church, Sebastian used his status to visit Christians in prison. This was dangerous business, and it was not long before he was denounced to the emperor.

Sebastian ultimately gave his life to protect Christians and we try to follow his lead by living out the Gospel values in our school community.