Skip to content

St. Barbara


Short Cuts

Author and Publisher - Catholic Online

Image of St. Barbara

Facts

Feastday: December 4
Patron of armourers, artillerymen, architects, mathematicians, miners
Birth: Mid-third Century
Death: Late-third Century

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.



St. Barbara Comments


More Saints






Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

17.

Image of St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions. His complete ... continue reading | shop

18.

Image of St. Clare

St. Clare

St. Clare of Assisi was born in Assisi on July 16, 1194, as Chiara Offreduccio, the beautiful eldest daughter of Favorino Sciffi, Count of Sasso-Rosso and his wife Ortolana. Tradition says ... continue reading | shop

19.

Image of St. Lucy

St. Lucy

Lucy's history has been lost and all we really know for certain is that this brave woman who lived in Syracuse lost her life during the persecution of Christians in the early fourth ... continue reading | shop

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. James the Greater

St. James the Greater

Nothing is known of St. James the Greater's early life, though it has been established that he is the son of Zebedee and Salome and brother of John the disciple. The title "the Greater" was added to ... continue reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Required


Female Saints

Image of St. Mary Magdalene

St. Mary Magdalene

St. Mary Magdalene is one of the greatest saints of the Bible and a legendary example of God's mercy and grace. The precise dates of her birth and death are unknown, but we do know she was present with Christ during his public ministry, death and resurrection. She is ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

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


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

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



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Fina

St. Fina

St. Fina or Seraphina, Virgin A.D. 1253 The old town of San Geminiano in Tuscany treasures with special veneration the memory of Santa Fina, a young girl whose claim to be recognized as a saint lay in the perfect resignation with which she accepted bodily suffering. ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Finbar

St. Finbar

He was the son of an artisan and a lady of the Irish royal court. Born in Connaught, Ireland, and baptized Lochan, he was educated at Kilmacahil, Kilkenny, where the monks named him Fionnbharr (white head) because of his light hair; he is also known as Bairre and Barr. ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Is Fr. Jacques Hamel a saint?

One year later, is Fr. Jacques Hamel a saint?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Tomorrow, July 26, is one year after the brutal murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel by ISIS-affiliated terrorists in France. The bishops of France are remembering him today. Reflecting on his passing, millions are asking, is he a saint? LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.