Sunday, October 17, 2010

All Hallows Eve: Saint Sebastian

The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton has criticised hallowe'en for being meaningless and a waste of money. He suggests children should dress up as saints.

I approve this idea and intend to detail one saint a day between now and All Saints Day to educate, entertain and possibly inspire costume ideas. Let's stop all the dressing up as the risen dead and bloodthirsty figures and get back to some good old-fashioned saintly religion[1].

Saint Sebastian

Saint Sebastian was a christian and a soldier[2] for the Roman Emperor Diocletian. When several Christians were arrested for refusing to sacrifice to Roman gods[3] he encouraged them in prison and, indeed, converted several other officials and returned speech to a mute woman. Diocletian considered this a betrayal and had Sebastian tied to a stake and shot full of arrows ("as full as a hedgehog"). Sebastian of course didn't die. Later he harangued Diocletian who had Sebastian beaten to death and dumped in a privy.

Saint Sebastian
Master of Saint Lucy Legend
about 1475-1500
Oil on panel, 70 x 26.7 cm
Aalst, Gallery Robert Pintelon

I like this idea - lot's of arrows, blood etc. Great stuff!


[1] Did someone mention Samhain?
[2] He's held up by early theologians as an example of how to be a good Christian and a good soldier
[3] Assuming any of this is true this was probably something to do with the Imperial cult - in other words refusing to acknowledge the Emperor as the supreme power.

3 comments:

Susan de Guardiola said...

I trust St. Agatha will be on the list?

Neil W said...

"I don't remember your face but I never forget a martyrdom." The martyrdom was on the list, but I'd forgotten her name. Thanks!

Good Lord, she's the patron saint of wet nurses. That's... not a perfect match.

Susan de Guardiola said...

Um...yeah. Definitely imperfect. Or something. Maybe the theory is that wet nurses also, err, donate their breasts to a cause?