A Tale of Death and Glory: The Acts of St. Sebastian and His Companions

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In his illustrious life, Saint Sebastian was the senior commanding officer of the elite forces for the greatest military power on the planet—the Roman Empire. By his glorious death, he became a commander in the greatest military power in the universe—the communion of saints of the Roman Catholic Church.

Throughout the Church’s history, countless martyrs have offered their lives to Christ rather than deny Him. One of the most revered is Saint Sebastian, and for this, his name appears in the Roman Canon. A native of Milan, Saint Sebastian was the primus pilus, the senior centurion of elite soldiers in the Roman army who commanded eight hundred of the best soldiers in the world’s greatest military at the time. Taking the same ethic for the spiritual battle as he did for the empire’s battles, Saint Sebastian worked tirelessly and inconspicuously to strengthen other Christians, especially during the cruel persecutions and martyrdoms of the third century.

The heroic examples of Saint Sebastian and his companions inspired others to follow the Lamb of God, even to the point of death, giving their lives as holocausts to the one, true living God rather than worship devils. It is only fitting that another great saint from Milan, Saint Ambrose, detailed the courage and fidelity of these brave soldiers. A Tale of Death and Glory will compel you to stay firm in your faith amidst the growing threats of persecution from secular authorities and to seek heaven with renewed vigor, for “this earthly life passes quickly, like a fleeting dream.” 

St. Ambrose of Milan
TAN Books
Publication Date:
Translated By:
Fr. Robert Nixon

5 Reviews

  • 5
    A Tale of Death and Glory

    Posted by M. Ruiz on Feb 12th 2024

    This book was very informative and interesting.

  • 5
    Excellent Story

    Posted by Robert Smith on Dec 1st 2023

    So glad I bought this book. A beautiful story about conversions under persecution. I had no idea wha…

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  • 5
    Compelling account of early Christian martyrs

    Posted by Angela Schaefer on May 26th 2023

    This is an absolutely amazing account of the early Christians during the Diocletion persecutions. S…

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  • 5
    Excellent read!

    Posted by Maria-Josephe S. on Dec 18th 2022

    St. Ambrose;s writing style is so easy to read making it easy to see why St. Sebastian was such a gr…

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  • 5
    Great Story

    Posted by Beth N. on Sep 19th 2022

    Beautiful story and easy read.

Editorial Reviews

Athanasius Schneider (Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Mary in Astana)

“To be a Christian means that one bears witness to Christ not in words, but in deeds, that is, the sacrifice of one’s life. St. Sebastian, a true soldier for Christ, inspired countless saints, including St. Ambrose of Milan. Like Christ, the martyrs poured out their blood so that the Church might bear fruit.”

Salvatore Cordileone (Archbishop of San Francisco)

“In his captivating account of the life and death of St. Sebastian and companions, St. Ambrose offers both a vivid portrait of the early Church and a masterful exposition of the heart of the Gospel. A Tale of Death and Glory is thus an excellent resource for readers of all ages wishing to deepen their faith and to live more boldly for the glory of God in the spirit of the Fathers and martyrs.”

Fr. Sebastian Walshe, O.PRAEM (author of The Foundations of Wisdom: An Introduction to Perennial Philosophy)

“The biography of Saint Sebastian authored by Saint Ambrose is one of the jewels of hagiography: the life of a saint written by a saint. To read St. Ambrose’s life of Sebastian is to enter into the life of the Church in its moral apex, a pure and spotless bride of Christ.”