Fabian, pope and martyr - January 20th
St Fabian (d. 250, Rome, Italy) (Relics: Rome, Italy)
First Class Relics
San Sebastiano Fuori Le Mura
(Saint Sebastian Outside the Walls)
Via Appia Antica 136
*This church is southeast of the Aurelian Walls.
*The last chapel on the right side of the nave is dedicated to the pope, St Fabian. Also a reliquary chapel near the center of the church on the right side of the nave contains relics of the saint. St Fabian was originally buried in the Catacombs of San Callisto but later his remains were moved to this church. Also within this same chapel are the column to which St Sebastian was tied, an arrow that pierced his flesh, and some small relics from a number of other saints including St Peter, St Paul, and St Andrew.
*Directly across from this chapel and on the left side of the nave is a chapel dedicated to St Sebastian (d. 288). St Sebastian was originally buried in the catacombs located under this church. At some point, however, these remains were removed. Some of these remains are now located within an urn in this chapel below the very impressive statue of St Sebastian created by Giuseppe Giorgetti.
*This church has an ancient tradition connecting it to St Peter and to St Paul. The Depositio Martyrum shows that in the year 258 pilgrims came to San Sebastiano Fuori Le Mura on June 29th, the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul, to honor these two great saints. Therefore, it is presumed that at one time this church housed the remains of both St Peter and St Paul.
*Tradition also claims that within the catacombs located under this church St Philip Neri (d. 1595) experienced such an enlargement of his heart due to a supernatural infusion of God’s love that two of his ribs cracked.
Other Places of Honor in Rome:
Catacombs of San Callisto
Via Appia Antica 110/126
*These catacombs are located south of the Aurelian Walls.
*St Fabian, St Pontian (d. 235), St Cornelius (d. 253), St Sixtus II (d. 258), and a number of other early popes were originally buried here. The remains of St Fabian were later moved to San Sebastiano Fuori Le Mura, the remains of St Cornelius to Santa Maria in Trastevere, and the remains of St Sixtus II to San Sisto Vecchio.
*St Cecilia was also buried in these catacombs. In 821 her remains were removed and taken to Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.
*Finally, it was at this location in the year 258 that Roman soldiers burst into a chapel and arrested St Sixtus II and four other deacons while they were celebrating the liturgy. St Lawrence (d. 258) was not present for this arrest. However, a legend holds that St Lawrence was able to speak to St Sixtus just before the pope was martyred. In this conversation St Sixtus prophetically stated, “You shall follow me in three days.” St Lawrence then in three days went on to suffer his own martyrdom by being burnt alive on a gridiron.