The Basilica di San Sebastiano fuori le Mura (St Sebastian Outside the Walls) is one of the seven traditional pilgrimage churches of Rome. It was founded in the 4th century when it was dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul and known as the Basilica Apostolorum. By the Middle Ages it had been re-dedicated to St Sebastian, who was thought to have been buried in the catacombs below.
The present church was built for Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1577-1633) by Flaminio Ponzio (1560-1613). The beautiful wooden ceiling is the work of Giovanni Vasanzio (c. 1550-1621).
The Chapel of St Sebastian has a very fine statue of the saint by Giuseppe Giorgetti (fl. 1668-82).
Saint Sebastian died as a martyr, circa 304 CE, during the emperor Diocletian's persecution of the Christians. According to traditional belief, Sebastian, a soldier in the Roman army, was tied to a post or tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. However, so the story goes, he was rescued and healed by Saint Irene. He was later caught again and stoned to death.
St Sebastian is the patron saint of archers, athletes and soldiers. He is also appealed to for protection against plagues.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
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