Highlights from the week online

How a saint survived a hail of arrows

St Sebastian is traditionally depicted apparently in the throes of martyrdom, being shot through with arrows. But according to churchpop.com, these depictions don’t tell the whole story. Sebastian was a 3rd-century Roman soldier and a clandestine Christian. “Due to his courage and skill as a soldier, he quickly rose in the ranks. What his fellow pagan soldiers didn’t know is that he used his position of influence to spread the Gospel and aid persecuted Christians.”

Sebastian helped many to convert, which eventually led to his exposure. The Emperor Diocletian sentenced him to death in 286. And the sentence – that he be tied to a stake and shot through with arrows – was carried out.

However, when St Irene of Rome went to take his body down, she discovered that he was still alive – and nursed him back to health.

“When he was strong enough, Sebastian did not hide away or live a quiet life to avoid detection. Instead, he did what many saints have done: he went right back out into the public square and started proclaiming the Gospel.”

As the story goes, Diocletian himself saw Sebastian on the street, and ordered him to be clubbed to death. This time, the martyrdom really did take place.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection