This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Friday, January 20, 2012

January 20 -- Feast of Saint Sebastian

Pincushion from the Unemployed Philosphers Guild
Ah, the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian.  It has been a favorite of artists for a long time.  In fact, there are more paintings of it than I could possibly show here, so my recommendation is that you drop "Saint Sebastian Martyr" into the Google Images and see for yourself.

The story of Sebastian was pretty entertaining, as legends about saints go.  He was the Captain of the Guards for the Roman Emperor Diocletian until he was denounced as a Christian.  He refused to renounce his faith, so the Emperor wistfully ordered that the Captain be tied to a tree and shot full of arrows.  As you see, some artists imagine that he fairly bristled with them, while other figured that the first could would kill him.  However many hits they actually scored, they left him for dead. 

Point blank: How could they fail, even in clown suits?
Hedgehog, but showing no pain
Saint Irene went to claim the body and found him still alive.  She took him home and nursed him back to health.  Mostly recovered, Sebastian went back to Diocletian like Moses to Ramses, railing against him futile attempts to silence the Word of the Lord.  Unlike Ramses, who kept giving Moses more and more chances, Diocletian ordered his soldiers to beat Sebastian to death.  No mistakes that time. 

In Yukio Mishima's Confessions of a Mask, the main character has a homosexual awakening when looking at a depiction of the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian.  One blog referred to him as a "gay icon." Why not?  If I can designate someone as the patron of curricula vitarum, I've opened the door for some other blogger to declare Sebastian the patron of homoerotic art.  And in the spirit of those who keep their own Canons...

Last year, I proclaimed January 20 Diocletian's Feast as well.  He's not a saint, not a beatus, and though he was venerable, we cannot venerate the old cabbage farmer.  If you want my reasons for dedicating the day to him, you'll find them here.

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