Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

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.



More about St. Barbara from Wikipedia

St. Barbara Comments



More Saints






Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

80.

Image of St. Emma

St. Emma

Saint Emma, also known as Emma of Lesum, or Emma of Stiepel, lived in the city that is Bremen today. She is the first female inhabitant of the city to be known by name. Emma lived in the ... continue reading

81.

Image of St. John Baptist Rossi

St. John Baptist Rossi

This holy priest was born in 1698 at the village of Voltaggio in the diocese of Genoa and was one of the four children of an excellent and highly respected couple. When he ws ten a nobleman ... continue reading

82.

Image of St. Genevieve

St. Genevieve

St. Genevieve was a fair and courageous peasant girl who was born around 422 in Nanterre, France, to a man named Severus and a woman named Gerontia. When Genevieve was only ... continue reading

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Fabian

St. Fabian

Eusebius, born just a few years after Fabian's death, tells us how Fabian came to Rome after Pope Anteros died in 236. A layperson, and not a very important one, he may have come for the same reason ... 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. Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri Tekakwitha

St. Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. She was born in 1656, in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon. Her mother was an Algonquin, who was captured by the Mohawks and who took a Mohawk chief for her ... 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. Monica

St. Monica

Saint Monica, also known as Monica of Hippo, is St. Augustine of Hippo's mother. She was born in 331 A.D. in Tagaste, which is present-day Algeria. When she was very young, she was married off to the Roman pagan Patricius, who shared his mother's violent temper. ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for 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 turnaround and conversion has been an inspiration to many who struggle with a ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of Let us remember to give thanks for this day the Lord has made.

Quotes of the Saints - Five saints have a message for you on this Thanksgiving holiday

By Marshall Connolly, (California Network)

If you are an American, today is Thanksgiving. Hopefully today you have made a point to attend Mass and to give thanks to God for all His blessings. If you are not American, today's holiday is a reminder that God deserves thanks from all His creation. We pray you will ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 8:6-13
6 As it is, he has been given a ministry as far superior as is the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:8, 10, 11-12, 13-14
8 I am listening. What is God's message? Yahweh's message is peace for ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:13-19
13 He now went up onto the mountain and summoned those he wanted. So they ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 20th, 2017 Image

St. Fabian
January 20: Eusebius, born just a few years after Fabian's ... Read More