San Sebastiano fuori le mura

St Sebastiano is one of the seven basilicas travellers to Rome usually visited, in particular after 1552 when St. Philip Neri promoted The Pilgrimage of the 7 Churches. Initially was called Basilica of Apostolorum, because the tradition has it that the relics of the two apostles were taken from their tombs in St Peter’s and St Paul outside the Walls to here for safe-keeping during a persecution by the emperor Valerian, and subsequently returned where their basilicas were built. Nowadays it is dedicated to St Sebatian .According to an account by St. Ambrose, Sebastian was an officer in the guard of Emperor Diocletian. He embraced the Christian faith and promoted the conversion of two guards. When Diocletian learnt about his behavior, he sentenced him to death and ordered his fellows to execute him. They tied him to a tree and shot some arrows at him, then they left the site believing Sebastian was dead, but he was not and he recovered thanks to the cures of a Christian matron. He returned to the Imperial Palace to testify his faith and was  sentenced again to death. this time Diocletian ordered that he should be beaten to death in Circus Maximus. The Chapel of Relics, located directly across the nave, houses a stone allegedly imprinted with the footprints of Jesus related to the episode of “Quo vadis?” in the apocryphal Acts of Peter and one of the arrows which struck St Sebastian together with part of the column to which he was tied during the martyrdom.