SEBASTIAN, ST, the patron saint against plague and pestilence, was by birth a Narbonese. According to the Roman breviary his nobility and bravery had endeared him to the emperor Diocletian, who made him captain of the first cohort. Having secretly become a Christian, he was wont to encourage those of his brethren who in the hour of trial seemed wavering in their profession. This was conspicuously the case when the brothers Marcus and Marcellinus were being led forth to death ; by his exhorta-tions Ile prevailed on them to resist the entreaties and tears of their wives and children. The emperor having been informed of this conduct sent for him and earnestly remonstrated with him, but, finding him inflexible, ordered that he should be bound to a stake and shot to death. After the archers had left him for dead a devout woman, Irene, came by night to take his body away for burial, but, finding him still alive, carried him to her house, where his wounds were dressed. No sooner had he wholly recovered than he hastened to confront the emperor, reproaching him with his impiety ; Diocletian, filled with astonishment, which soon changed into fury, ordered him to be instantly carried off and beaten to death with rods (288). The sentence was forthwith executed, his body being thrown into the cloaca, where, however, it was found by another pious matron, Lucina, whom Sebastian visited in a dream, directing her to bury him in the Catacombs under the site of the church now called by his name. He is celebrated by the Roman Church on 20th January (duplex). His cult is chiefly diffused along the eastern coast of Italy and in other districts liable to visitations of plague. As a young and beautiful soldier, he is a favourite subject of sacred art, being most generally represented as undraped and severely, though not mortally, wounded with arrows.