The family of St. Sebastian's by-the-Sea came into being in 1963 as a parochial mission sponsored by Holy Trinity Church in Melbourne. Our first home was in the Melbourne Beach Community Center. The diocese purchased a three-acre plot on Oak Street in Melbourne Beach on July 18, 1965. Groundbreaking ceremonies took place with Fr. Hayes digging the first shovelful of earth. Our services in the new building began on December 19, and Bishop Loutitt blessed the new church on March 20, 1966. We became a parish in April 1969.
Saint Sebastian (died c. 288) was a Christian saint and martyr, who is said to have been killed during the Roman emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians. He is commonly depicted in art and literature tied to a post or tree and shot with arrows. This is the most common artistic depiction of Sebastian; however, he was rescued and healed by Irene of Rome before criticizing the emperor and being clubbed to death. He is venerated in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
The details of Saint Sebastian's martyrdom were first spoken of by 4th century bishop Ambrose of Milan, in his sermon (number 22) on Psalm 118. Ambrose stated that Sebastian came from Milan and that he was already venerated there in the 4th century.
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