Thy Name Is Barbara
December 4, 2018
I’m still not sure how I feel about Saint Barbara. It is kind of cool to have a special day and a feast… not everyone has a name associated with a Saint after-all. December 4th is Saint Barbara’s day. But how it came about is, well, pretty unbelievable. From the Infallible Wikipedia:
“According to the hagiographies, Barbara, the daughter of a rich pagan named Dioscorus, was carefully guarded by her father who kept her locked up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world. Having secretly become a Christian, she rejected an offer of marriage that she received through her father.
“Before going on a journey, her father commanded that a private bath-house be erected for her use near her dwelling, and during his absence, Barbara had three windows put in it, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, instead of the two originally intended. When her father returned, she acknowledged herself to be a Christian; upon this he drew his sword to kill her, but her prayers created an opening in the tower wall and she was miraculously transported to a mountain gorge, where two shepherds watched their flocks. Dioscorus, in pursuit of his daughter, was rebuffed by the first shepherd, but the second betrayed her. For doing this, he was turned to stone and his flock was changed to locusts.
“Dragged before the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who had her cruelly tortured, Barbara held true to her Christian faith. During the night, the dark prison was bathed in light and new miracles occurred. Every morning, her wounds were healed. Torches that were to be used to burn her went out as soon as they came near her. Finally, she was condemned to death by beheading. Her father himself carried out the death-sentence. However, as punishment for this, he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body was consumed by flame. Barbara was buried by a Christian, Valentinus, and her tomb became the site of miracles.”
Because the facts of her story could not be verified, her Sainthood was downgraded in 1969 and the feast day removed from the official calendar. But that does not deter those who wish protection during war and from lightning strikes to offer up a prayer against bad things happening to them. Also from the Infallible Wikipedia:
“Saint Barbara is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Her association with the lightning that killed her father has caused her to be invoked against lightning and fire; by association with explosions, she is also the patron of artillery and mining.”
I think with a bit of planning, I could turn December 4th into a really cool event day. Have a big feast, set off some fireworks, and tell the story of Saint Barbara. And for good measure if the Gods can provide a thunder and lightning storm that day, even better. So mark it on your calendars for 2019, it will be an explosively good time.
No blog post is complete without a link to the Infallible Wikipedia: