Sebastian, ST., a Christian martyr under Diocletian, was born at Narbonne, in Gaul, and educated at Milan. Although a Christian, he entered the Roman army, concealing his religion, with the view of being enabled by his position to assist and protect the Christians. He rose to high favor under Diocletian, and became a member of the emperor's guard. At length he was informed against, and Diocletian used every, effort to induce him to renounce the Christian belief, but in vain. He was condemned to be put to death by a troop of Mauritanian archers, who transfixed him with arrows and left him for dead. Some Christians coming to the place of execution to bury him found signs of life remaining, and he was removed to the house of a Christian lady, Irene, and recovered. He would not yield to the persuasions of his friends to remain in seclusion, but intentionally placed himself in the emperor's way. Diocletian condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs in the amphitheatre, and his body was flung into one of the sewers of the city. According to the Acts of Martyrdom, it was discovered by means of an apparition, and carried by a Christian lady, Lucina, to the catacomb which is still called by his name. The day of his martyrdom was Jan. 20, 288, but by the Greeks the feast is held Dec. 20.
There is another saint of the same name, who is said to have suffered martyrdom in Armenia.