Saint Barbara, also known as the Great Martyr Barbara, was an early Christian Greek martyr born mid-third century in Heliopolis, Phoenicia.
Barbara was the daughter to a rich pagan named Dioscorus. After the death of Barbara's mother, Dioscorus dedicated his life to his only daughter.
Barbara was known for being extremely beautiful. As a way of "protecting" her, Dioscorus shielded her from the world by locker her high up within a tower. He allowed only her pagan teachers to see her.
Barbara spent her days gazing upon the hills and admiring all of God's creations. She often pondered about the "First Cause and Creator of so harmonious and splendid a world." She soon realized the idols her father and teachers worshiped were not of God's creation.
Barbara secretly became a Christian and dedicated her life to knowing the true God and making Him known to others. She offered herself completely to the Lord, choosing a life of consecrated virginity.
As Barbara grew older, her father, Dioscorus began presenting men to her for marriage. She refused them all and warned her father that his persistence could forever damage their relationship.
Dioscorus allowed for Barbara to leave her tower, hoping some freedom would change her attitude. Barbara used this opportunity to meet other Christians. They taught her about the Lord Jesus, the Holy Trinity and the Church. A priest from Alexandria, disguised as a merchant, baptized Barbara into Christ and His Church.
While Barbara was out exploring the world, her father had a private bath-house built for her. The original architectural plans were for two windows to be built, but, while her father was away, Barbara advised the workers to make a third window ? creating a Trinity of light.
Barbara's bathhouse became a place full of healing power and many miracles occurred there. St. Simeon Metaphrastes even compared it to the stream of Jordan.
After Dioscorus returned, Barbara informed him she had become a Christian and would no longer worship his idols. Full of rage, her father grabbed his sword and went to strike her. Before he could do so, Barbara ran off.
Her father chased after her, but was abruptly stopped when a hill blocked his way. The hill opened and hid Barbara within a crevice. Dioscorus searched and searched for his daughter, but could not find her.
Dioscorus came across two shepherds and asked them if they had seen her. The first denied, but the second betrayed Barbara. Some legends indicate that he was turned to stone and his flock was turned into locusts.
Her father Dioscorus beat his daughter, locked her up and starved her. He then handed her over to Martianus, the prefect of the city. Together, they continued to beat and torture her, but Barbara never renounced her Christian faith. She prayed to Jesus and he appeared to heal her wounds. This only made Martianus try harder to get her to renounce the Lord and her Christian faith. She refused and her Lord gave her strength to stand firm.
Barbara, along with another virtuous Christian woman named Juliana, were injured with rakes and hooks and led naked throughout the city.
After Barbara prayed, an angel came and covered the pair with a robe and torches used to burn Barbara went out when they came near her.
Finally, Barbara was condemned to death by beheading by her father. Her martyrdom took place on December 4th.
Seen as a punishment for their actions, Dioscorus and Martianus were both killed after being struck by lightning.
In the 6th century relics of St. Barbara were taken to Constantinople. Six hundred years later, they were taken to Kiev by the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenos. Today, they rest at the St. Vladimir cathedral in Kiev.
Doubt and questions surrounding the history of St. Barbara caused her to be removed from the General Roman Calendar, but not from the Catholic Church's list of saints.
The United States Army Field Artillery Association and the United States Army Air Defense Artillery Association hold the Order of Saint Barbara as an honorary society within the military.
St. Barbara is depicted with mini chains, standing by or holding a tower with three windows, carrying a palm branch, and sometimes with cannons.
She is the patron saint of armourers, artillerymen, architects, mathematicians, miners and the Italian Navy. St. Barbara is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, venerated because their intercession is believed to be particularly effective against diseases. Barbara is often invoked against lightning and fire, with associations of explosions. Her feast day is celebrated on December 4.
Saint Feast Days by Month
An archbishop and scholar, Ado was born in Sens and educated at the Benedictine abbey of Ferrieres. Abbot Lupus Servatus, an outstanding humanist of the time, trained Ado, and was impressed with the ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
St. Angela Merici was an Italian religious educator and founder of the Ursulines whose deep prayer life and relationship with the Lord bore the fruit of mystical encounters with God. She was born on March 21, 1474 in Desenzano, a small town on the shore of Lake Garda ... continue readingMore Female Saints
Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading
St. Gabriel is an angel who serves as a messenger for God to certain people. He is one of the three archangels. Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. First, in the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to explain his ... continue reading
Widow of Palestine who rescued the remains of St. Varus, martyred in some earlier persecution. She enshrined the saint's remains in her home in Dera, in Syria. When a church was dedicated to St. Varus, Cleopatra's young son died, and the saint miraculously came to ... continue reading
On the death of Clovis, King of the Franks, in the year 511 his kingdom was divided between his four sons, of whom the second was Clodomir. Thirteen years later he was killed fighting against his cousin, Gondomar, leaving three sons to share his dominions. The youngest ... continue reading
By CNA News
Scientists at a university in Liverpool have unveiled what they say is the most realistic portrait ever created of St. Nicholas of Myra, the popular 4th century bishop best known as the inspiration for the modern-day figure of Santa Claus. Liverpool, England (CNA) - ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes
More Christian Saints & Heroes
by Catholic Online
- Indonesia rejects law that would criminalize sex outside of marriage
- Australia asks Church to end celibacy and confession to fight child ...
- St. Olympias: Saint of the Day for Sunday, December 17, 2017
- Church reviews possible Catholic hospital mega-merger
- Daily Readings for Sunday, December 17, 2017
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, December 19th, 2017 HD Video
- Commission recommends Church end priestly celibacy and confession to ...
- Daily Reading for Monday, December 18th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, December 17th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, December 16th, 2017 HD
- The Net Neutrality Scam: Get ready to pay a lot more for a lot less HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way