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St. Sebastian

Related: gay icon - martyr - Christianity

St. Sebastian (c.1618) - Peter Paul Rubens


St Sebastian was a Christian saint and martyr, who died under the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian in the third century.

According to his apocryphal Acts, attributed to St Ambrose of Milan, he was a soldier who enlisted in the Roman army around 283. Diocletian, unaware that he was a Christian, appointed him as a captain of the Praetorian Guard. When he treated Christian prisoners due for martyrdom kindly, Diocletian reproached him for his supposed ingratitude and ordered him executed by arrows. He survived and returned to preach to Diocletian. Subsequently the emperor ordered Sebastian to be beat to death.

This method of execution made Sebastian a favourite for paintings. Sebastian is usually depicted in art as a somewhat effete youth tied to a stake and transfixed by several arrows. Sebastian was formerly one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers until that cult was suppressed in the reform of the Roman Catholic liturgy in 1969. Sebastian's own feast day is January 20.

Sebastian, like Saint George, was one of a class of military martyrs and soldier saints, whose cults originated in the 4th century and culminated at the end of the Middle Ages, in the 14th and 15th centuries, both in the East and the West. Details of their martyrologies may provoke some skepticism among modern readers, but certain consistent patterns emerge that are revealing of Christian attitudes. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebastian [Nov 2004]

Sebastiane (1976) - Paul Humfress, Derek Jarman

Sebastiane (1976) - Paul Humfress, Derek Jarman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Sebastiane is the homoerotic film written and directed by Derek Jarman and Paul Humfress that portraits the martyrdom of the Catholic Saint Sebastian. It was the first film to be entirely recorded in Latin. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebastiane [Nov 2004]

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