St. Sebastian, the patron saint of archers and soldiers, was one of the early martyrs of the Christian church. According to legend, Sebastian served in the personal guard of the Roman emperor Diocletian during the late 200s. While in this post Sebastian converted many of his fellow soldiers to Christianity. When Diocletian found out, he had Sebastian shot with arrows.
patron special guardian, protector, or supporter
martyr person who suffers or is put to death for a belief
The archers assumed Sebastian was dead, but he survived and a woman found his body. After she nursed him back to health, Sebastian sought out the emperor and asked him to stop persecuting Christians. Diocletian ordered that Sebastian be beaten to death and thrown into a sewer. His body was recovered and buried near Rome in the Basilica San Sebastiano, which became a popular stop for pilgrims in the Middle Ages. St. Sebastian's feast day is celebrated on January 20.