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Saint of the Day for 20 January: Saints Sebastian and Fabian

Saints Sebastian and Fabian: Heroes of Martyrdom and Patrons of the Christian Faith


Saints Sebastian and Fabian




20 January


2004 edition


For that heroism with which you endured the pain of the arrows that all impeached your body, and miraculously kept alive, then detached from the gallows by the pious widow Irene, you reproached the barbarous Diocletian for his injustice and impiety, impart still for us all, O glorious Martyr Sebastian, that we may always sustain with joy the diseases, persecutions, and all the adversities of this miserable life, so that we may participate some day in your glory in Heaven, after having participated in your afflictions above the earth.

Patron saints of

Aiello del Sabato, Fiamignano, Camporosso, Lumezzane, Marmirolo, Canneto sull’Oglio, Villa di Chiavenna, Rancio Valcuvia, Montottone, Zumaglia, Ollastra, Civitella Paganico, Villorba

Roman Martyrology

In Rome, the birthplace of St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr, who, in the time of Dècius, suffered martyrdom, and was buried in the cemetery of Callistus. So also at Rome, in the Catacombs, St. Sebastian Martyr, who, under the Emperor Diocletian, having command of the first cohort, on account of the Christian faith was made to be tied to a pole in the middle of the camp and lashed by the soldiers, and finally beaten with sticks, until he yielded the spirit.


The Saint and Mission

Saints Sebastian and Fabian, two emblematic figures in the history of Christianity, embody a mission of faith and resilience that has left an indelible mark on the fabric of Christian spirituality. Their story, studded with courage and sacrifice, speaks of absolute dedication to their faith and the principles of Christianity, even in the face of insurmountable challenges. Sebastian and Fabian’s mission was deeply rooted in their unconditional loyalty to God and their commitment to live according to Christian teachings. They not only testified to their faith through word, but also through courageous actions and, finally, through the supreme sacrifice of martyrdom. Their example is a powerful reminder of the power of faith and inner strength. The stories of Sebastian, a soldier who became a defender of Christians, and Fabian, who ascended to the papacy against all odds, illustrate their extraordinary leadership and inspiration. They led not by force but by the strength of their example, showing that true leadership is rooted in values such as humility, compassion and moral steadfastness. Ultimately, Saints Sebastian and Fabian represent the mission to stand firm in the face of oppression, holding firm to their faith and offering hope to those who struggle. Their legacy is a hymn to the strength of the human spirit and the ability to overcome adversity through faith and conviction.

The Saint and Mercy

Saints Sebastian and Fabian, through their lives and martyrdom, embodied the true essence of Christian mercy. Despite the challenges and persecution they faced, their story is imbued with a deep sense of compassion and love for others. These saints not only sustained their community by faith, but also extended their mercy to those in need, showing genuine and selfless care. Sebastian, a soldier who became a defender of persecuted Christians, exemplified mercy through his courage in protecting and supporting his fellow believers. His actions were not limited to simple opposition to injustice; he showed a deep and empathetic understanding of others’ suffering, acting with a compassion that went beyond the call of duty. Fabiano, on the other hand, as pope, demonstrated a mercy that extended beyond his immediate community, seeking to lead the Church in a time of great turbulence with kindness and patience. His leadership was characterized by a loving and inclusive approach that put the dignity and well-being of the faithful at the center. Together, Sebastian and Fabian represent mercy as a fundamental principle of Christian life-not just as a feeling, but as an action. Their legacy teaches us that true mercy involves courage, sacrifice and an unconditional commitment to justice and care for others, regardless of circumstances.


Ancient Roman liturgical texts stipulated that St. Fabian and St. Sebastian were venerated separately; later they were commemorated in a single celebration, but the new calendar, harking back to ancient usage, prescribes two separate optional memorial…


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