A Saint of the Day for Jan.20

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FABIAN, POPE AND MARTYR;

SEBASTIAN, MARTYR

Fabian (d. 250) was one of the most respected and accomplished popes of the earliest Chris tian centuries. Elected as a layman, he reorganized the local clergy, dividing the growing Roman church into seven ecclesiastical districts with a deacon in charge of each, and supervised numerous building projects in the cemeteries, which were also places of worship for the Chris tian community. Almost all of Fabian’s pontifi cate (236–50) was peaceful, until Decius rose to power in 249 and unleashed a new and vicious persecution against the Church. Fabian was the first to be arrested and put in prison, where he died after suffering brutal treatment.

Sebastian (d. ca. 300) was martyred under Diocletian and buried on the Appian Way close to the site where a basilica was erected in his honor, possibly by the emperor Constantine. He is usually depicted being pierced with arrows (which, according to legend, did not kill him). For that reason, he is regarded as the patron saint of archers.

Both Fabian and Sebastian are on the General Roman Calendar.

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