The Brotherhood’s school is named for Saint Sebastian (c 265- c288), a martyr and Christian saint venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. According to Acts of the Saints (Acta Sanctorum), Sebastian was from the Roman province of Gallia Narbonesis and schooled in Milan. Unaware of Sebastian’s Christianity, Emperor Diocletian appointed him captain of the Praetorian Guard.
Sebastian restored the faith of two imprisoned Christian brothers sentenced to death. He also converted their parents and cured a mute woman, the return of her voice converting a further 78 people.
For what he considered betrayal, Diocletian ordered Sebastian be bound to a stake, shot by archers and left for dead. Sebastian didn’t die however, and the widow of Castulus, Irene of Rome, nursed him back to health. Later, Sebastian indulged in a public vocal tirade against Diocletian, who had him beaten to death.
A revered figure in art, Sebastian’s first known depiction was in a mosaic dating from around 527 in the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy. From the Renaissance onward, images of him proliferated, usually as a scantily-clad youth pierced with a multitude of slender arrows. Depictions of him from this time onward bear a distinctly homoerotic subtext.
The supposed remains of St Sebastian are housed in the Basilica Apostolorum, Rome.