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Basilica of Saint Sebastian outside the Walls

Emperor Constantine ordered the construction of this basilica in the 4th century, giving it the name of Basilica Apostolorum (Basilica of the Apostles) in honour of the Apostles Peter and Paul, whose relics were kept here for about 50 years during the persecutions of Emperor Valerian in the 3rd century.


Only later, the title of the church was changed to Saint Sebastian, in honour of the soldier who was martyred at the time of Diocletian. The Martyr’s remains, preserved in the adjacent catacombs, became a focal point for the growing devotion to the saint.


It was established as a parish in 1714 by Pope Clement XI, who entrusted it to the care of the Cistercians. In 1826 Pope Leo XII switched responsibility for the basilica to the Franciscan priests of the Order of Friars Minor, who take care of the Parish to this day. 


On 3rd May 1957, Saint Sebastian became the patron of Italian Parking Wardens, by decree of Pope Pius XII. To this day, on the 20th of January, the feast of Saint Sebastian, the traffic wardens of the Eternal City mark the saint’s feast with a solemn ceremony.