Today's Saints (January 20): Fabian and Sebastian, Martyrs

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Fabian was the bishop of Rome from 236 until his death, and was martyred under the Diocletian persecution in 250. According to the Liber Pontificalis, he divided Rome into seven different districts, putting deacons in charge of each area.

Sebastian was a Roman officer who is said to have converted many of his soldier companions. Tradition tells us he, too, was martyred for his faith during the Diocletian persecution. According to tradition, he was sentenced to be shot by archers, and is therefore many times represented in medieval and renaissance art as a young man impaled with many arrows or, as in the accompanying picture, at least with arrows in his hand. He is said to have recovered from that assault, but was later clubbed to death by the emperor's henchmen - and the above picture, again, has a "representative club," also.

Both saints remind us to stand up for the Faith of Christ crucified, no matter the cost, knowing that "the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them." (From the day's propers, Mass 6, Common of Several Martyrs, page F9, People's Anglican Missal)

The Day's Propers
Fabian's Catholic Encyclopedia Article
Sebastian's Catholic Encyclopedia Article

Books Worth Considering
The Treasury of Saints and Martyrs
Fox's Book of Martyrs
Their Blood Cries Outamazn
Reason Is Beguiled: On the Mystery of Martyrdom and of Total Self Gift
By Their Blood: Christian Martyrs of the Twentieth Century

Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church