St. Fabian and St. Sebastian
Feast Day: January 20
Born/Died: (Third Century)
Fabian was a simple farmer but was an extraordinary person. He was also very holy.
St. Cyprian explained how Fabian had been elected pope. The group who had gathered to elect the next pope prayed for a sign. The day the new pope was to be elected Fabian came into Rome. A dove flew in and settled on his head. They took this as a sign that Fabian had been anointed. He was immediately chosen Pope and was the first layman to be pope.
He died a martyr in 250 during the persecution by Emperor Decius. Fabian's remains are now in the basilica of St. Sebastian. And the two martyrs share the same feast day.
St. Sebastian was born at Narbonne, in Gaul. He came from a rich Roman family and studied in Milan. As an officer in the Imperial Roman army and captain of the guard, he became known for his goodness and bravery. He was a favorite of Emperor Diocletian.
Then during the persecution by Diocletian, Sebastian visited Christians in prison bringing them supplies and comfort. He even healed the wife of one of the soldiers by making the sign of the cross over her. Seeing his witness, many soldiers and a governor became Christians.
Diocletian ordered Sebastian to give up his Christian faith but he refused. Then Sebastian was tied to a tree and archers shot arrows into his body and left him for dead. When a holy widow came to bury him, she was shocked to find him still alive. She took him to her home and nursed his wounds.
When Sebastian was well enough, the widow pleaded with him to escape the dangers of Rome. But Sebastian was a brave soldier. He would not run away. He returned to preach to Diocletian and urged him to stop torturing the Christians.
The emperor was shocked to see Sebastian alive. He refused to listen to what Sebastian had to say. Diocletian ordered that Sebastian be immediately clubbed and beaten to death. He died in 288.
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