Wednesday, January 20, 2010

St. Sebastian (c.256 to c.288)

"We will have to give you a private tour of the catacombs. I hope you don't mind," said the cardinal who was originally from Boston. "You're the only English speaking tourist here today."
Mind? What a treat! I was at the Catacombe di San Sebastiano along the Appian Way in Rome. It was where St. Sebastian was first buried. He is now in the Basilica Apostolorum directly above. Saints Peter and Paul were once entombed there, too.
If it were stretched out, these catacombs would reach nearly seven miles. And, the passageways were very narrow so you would come face to face with the enemy.
I remember the cardinal asking me if I was claustrophobic, before we went down into the tunnels. I'm not although I did pretend that I was above ground just in case. The artwork I saw was from before the year 400.
St. Sebastian was born c.256 at Narbonne, Gaul. He joined the Roman Army as a soldier in 283. In art, he is often shown tied to a post and shot with arrows. St. Sebastian died c.288. He is the patron saint of athletes and soldiers. His feast day in Jan. 20.

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