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
Little is known about St. Matthew, except that he was the son of Alpheus, and he was likely born in Galilee. He worked as a tax collector, which was a hated profession during the time of ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
Teresa of Ávila was born Teresa Ali Fatim Corella Sanchez de Capeda y Ahumada in Ávila, Spain. Less than twenty years before Teresa was born in 1515, Columbus opened up the Western Hemisphere to European colonization. Two years after she was born, Luther started the ... 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
Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and his Norman wife, Emma, daughter of Duke Richard I of Normandy. He was born at Islip, England, and sent to Normandy with his mother in the year 1013 when the Danes under Sweyn and his son Canute invaded England. ... continue reading
By Courtney Grogan (CNA/EWTN News)
A personal encounter with Mother Alphonse Marie Eppinger inspired "conversions which were far more miraculous than the raising of the dead," recounted her spiritual director, Father Jean-David Reichard. The nineteenth century French mystic and religious founder was ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes
by Catholic Online
- El Papa Francisco se solidariza con victimas del accidente de barco ...
- St. Thomas of Villanueva: Saint of the Day for Saturday, September ...
- Blessed Stanley Rother shrine fundraising campaign surpasses initial goal
- Daily Reading for Sunday, September 23rd, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Saturday, September 22, 2018
- Prayer Requests Live for Friday, September 21st, 2018 HD Video
- Catholic education group applauds Australian school funding plan
- Prayer Requests Live for Thursday, September 20th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, September 22nd, 2018 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Friday, September 21st, 2018 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
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education