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Patron Saint of Athletes

By DaveS | August 11, 2008

Saint Sebastian MedalsWith the 2008 Olympics in Beijing China upon us, here’s a little bit about Saint Sebastian the patron saint of athletes in honor of all the athletes worldwide participating in the games.

According to his legend, Sebastian was born in Gaul and became a soldier in the Roman army. When it was discovered that St Sebastian was a Christian, during the rule of Emperor Diocletian, it was ordered that he be bound to a stake and shot by archers. Left there for dead or to die, it was St Irene who returned to the spot to bury St Sebastian only to find him still alive. Irene tended to Sebastian nursing him back to health. Once this was discovered, St Sebastian was beat to death with a club. His martyrdom, about the only thing that can be proved, was in 288.

The reason Sebastian is the patron saint of athletes was partly due to his physical endurance. He is also the patron saint of archers and all soldiers. A Basilica is said to be built over his remains and was rebuilt in 1611. An arrow said to have struck St. Sebastian and the column to which he was reportedly bound, is housed in the Relics Chapel. Saint Sebastian’s feast day is celebrated January 20th.

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