Robert Campin . Sainte Barbe , 1438
Vierge et martyre (✝ 235)
ou Barbara, illustre martyre de Nicomédie dont le culte fut largement répandu dès le Ve siècle tant en Orient qu'en Occident.
Sa vie est surtout faite de traditions pour ne pas dire de légendes. Son bourreau aurait été frappé par la foudre d'où l'origine de la dévotion populaire qui l'invoque contre les dangers d'une mort subite provoquée par le feu ou l'électricité.
Il semble que cette barbare (Barbara) fut introduite dans le cirque de Nicomédie sans que les spectateurs, parmi lesquels se trouvaient des chrétiens, ne connaissent son nom. Sommée une dernière fois de sacrifier l'encens à l'empereur, elle refusa. Quand les chrétiens vinrent demander son corps, ils ne purent la nommer que "une jeune femme barbare", Barbara.
Il en est d'ailleurs de même pour beaucoup d'autres martyrs: René (rené par le baptême), Christian (un chrétien), Christophe (un porte-Christ) etc..
Selon une autre légende, comme elle était d'une grande beauté, son père
l'enferme dans une tour. Elle y devient chrétienne. Pour cela, son père la
décapite lui-même, mais il meurt aussitôt foudroyé.
Attributs: une tour (trois fenêtres) à la main, ciboire et hostie , ou canon et barils de poudre.
Le père Rouillard, de Wisques a résumé ainsi sa biographie: Elle aimait Dieu, beaucoup et trouvait inutile de se marier. Son père déçu lui coupa la tête, mais tomba foudroyé. En Orient, on ne sait plus quand. Mais tout le monde sait que sainte Barbe, à cause de la foudre, est patronne des artilleurs, des artificiers, des mineurs et des carriers; et à cause de son nom, des brossiers, des chapeliers et des tapissiers. On l'invoque même en Haute-Saône pour avoir des enfants frisés.. (source: Saints du Pas de Calais - diocèse d'Arras)
Le culte de la sainte est ancien. Son intercession protégeait de la mort
subite. Elle était aussi invoquée contre la foudre et, très tôt, elle fut prise
comme patronne par les arquebusiers (c'est le cas, façon attestée, à Florence,
dès 1529), puis par les canonniers, et par tous ceux qui 'jouent' avec le feu
et les explosifs. Les artilleurs contemporains, de même que les artificiers,
les sapeurs et les pompiers* du Génie, n'ont fait que s'inscrire dans cette
aux Armées françaises)
(*des internautes nous font remarquer que tous les pompiers ne sont pas militaires, les pompiers de Paris et les marins-pompiers de Marseille sont militaires.)
Hormis la légende de son martyre qui en a fait la patronne des artilleurs, des artificiers, des mineurs et des pompiers, on ne sait rien sur sainte Barbe. Cependant son culte est répandu depuis un temps immémorial dans le pays messin dont elle est la patronne. (Source: Diocèse de Metz)
Des internautes nous écrivent:
- "Constructeurs de tunnels depuis plusieurs années l'AFTES, l'Association des travaux en souterrains fête sa sainte patronne: Ste Barbe. Lors du creusement du tunnel sous la Manche, il était travaillé 364/365 jours. Le seul jour non travaillé était le 4 décembre fête de Ste Barbe."
- "Sainte Barbe est également fêtée le 3ème lundi de juillet à Roscoff en Bretagne; elle était la patronne des Johnnies (ces hommes qui depuis 1825 vont vendre les oignons rosés de la région dans le Royaume-Uni)"
- "Sa légende parle d'une jeune fille très belle et très riche vivant au moyen-âge. Convertie au christianisme contre la volonté de son père elle est emprisonnée dans une tour du château. Elle s'obstine et persévère néanmoins dans sa foi. Furieux, le père met le feu à la tour et, retrouvant sa fille indemne, la fait décapiter. Alors, c'est le feu du ciel qui tombe sur lui et le consume intégralement. Sainte Barbe est invoquée contre les morts violentes."
- "Sainte-Barbe est Libanaise. Sainte-Barbe est de Baalbeck, au Liban. La Sainte-Barbe est une fête nationale au Liban, avant qu'elle ne se répande dans le monde. A la Sainte-Barbe au Liban, nous mangeons du blé cuit sucré en commémoration de Sainte-Barbe qui s'est cachée de son père, dans les champs de blé, au Liban. De plus, à la Sainte-Barbe, les grands et les petits se déguisent dans les rues, et les enfants vont chercher des bonbons et des friandises dans les maisons."
Commémoraison de sainte Barbe, martyre à Nicomédie.
SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/213/Sainte-Barbe.html
Sainte-Barbe, née d'un père païen – adorant les idoles – vers 235 à Nicomédie (en Turquie, aujourd'hui Izmit), fut cependant de bonne heure instruite des vérités chrétiennes par ses lectures, et fit de même tout son possible pour éviter le mariage. Dioscore, son père, était un être d'une humeur bizarre et d'un naturel cruel ayant toutes les inclinations d'un barbare. Celui-ci, voyant que sa fille, déjà parvenue à l'adolescence, était d'une beauté très remarquable, et comprenant les dangers auxquels ne tarderaient pas à l'exposer ses grâces jointes à une immense fortune, imagina de l'enfermer dans une forteresse inaccessible. La célèbre tour ressemblait plus à un palais magnifique qu'à une prison. Barbe profita de l'absence de son père pour faire percer une troisième fenêtre en plus des deux dont disposait sa prison dorée, pour symboliser la Trinité : le Père, le Fils et le Saint Esprit. De même elle y traça des signes de croix. Son père, à son retour, lui demanda l’explication de ces signes. Elle lui dit qu’elle avait voulu représenter un Dieu en trois personnes et la mort du fils de Dieu sur la croix. Dioscore entra dans une grande colère en voyant que sa fille embrassait "les rêveries" des chrétiens : elle fut obligée de fuir. Il la poursuivit longtemps et, l’ayant enfin atteinte, il l’accabla de coups, la prit par les cheveux et la ramena à sa maison où il la tint enfermée dans la tour et la traita comme une esclave. Il la mena ensuite au tribunal de Marcien, gouverneur de la Province où, l’ayant accusée d’être chrétienne, il demanda qu’elle fut châtiée selon la rigueur des édits que les empereurs avaient promulgués contre les chrétiens (elle n'avait que 16 ans).
Marcien s’efforça d’abord de la faire fléchir par de belles paroles mais, la voyant insensible à ses remontrances, il changea cette feinte douceur en cruauté. Après une horrible flagellation, il la fit ramener en prison en attendant d'avoir inventé quelque nouveau supplice pour la punir. La même nuit, le Seigneur lui apparut dans une lumière admirable, l’exhorta à la persévérance, lui promit de l’assister dans tous les combats qu’elle allait soutenir pour la gloire de son nom. Et pour lui donner des marques sensibles de protection, il la guérit parfaitement de toutes ses plaies.
Le lendemain, le gouverneur la fit comparaître une seconde fois devant son tribunal, et, la voyant guérie des blessures dont son corps avait été tout couvert, il attribua ce miracle à ses faux dieux et tâcha de la persuader de leur offrir quelques sacrifices en actions de grâces. Mais la jeune fille lui affirma qu’elle avait été guérie par Jésus-Christ, fils du Dieu vivant. Le juge, irrité par sa hardiesse, commanda au bourreau qui était présent de lui déchirer les flancs avec des peignes de fer, et quand ils seraient entre ouverts, de les lui brûler avec des torches ardentes, et, enfin, de lui décharger sur la tête de grands coups de marteau. Pendant qu’on exécutait cet arrêt, elle avait les yeux élevés au ciel et priait. A ces tourments en succéda un plus douloureux : la sainte eut les mamelles coupées ; mais l’amour qu’elle portait à Dieu et le désir de souffrir pour lui, faisaient que ces douleurs lui étaient agréables. Marcien, se voyant vaincu par la constance de Sainte-Barbe, s’avisa d’un autre genre de supplice, qui était le plus sensible qui put faire souffrir une vierge : il commanda qu’on lui ôta ses habits, et qu’en cet état elle fût chassée à coups de fouet par les rues de la ville. Alors la sainte, levant les yeux au ciel, fit cette prière à Dieu : "Ô mon Seigneur et mon Roi, qui couvrez quand il vous plaît le ciel de nuages et la terre de ténèbres, cachez, je vous en supplie, la nudité de mon corps, afin que les yeux des infidèles ne le voyant point, ils n’aient pas sujet de faire des railleries de votre servante". Sa prière fut aussitôt exaucée et Dieu lui apparut, remplit son cœur de consolation et la couvrit d’un vêtement lumineux qui ôta aux idolâtres la vue de son corps.
Enfin, Marcien perdant tout espérance de faire ébranler le cœur de notre sainte, qui avait parut invincible au milieu de tant de supplices, la condamna à avoir la tête tranchée. Dioscore, qui s’était trouvé à tous les tourments de sa fille, semblait n’attendre que cette sentence pour se baigner dans son sang virginal et achever d’assouvir sa rage contre elle ; car dès qu’elle fut prononcée, il se présenta pour en être lui-même le bourreau (afin qu’elle ne mourût point dans d’autres mains que les siennes).
Cette cruelle demande lui ayant été accordée, Barbe fut menée hors de la ville, en haut d’une montagne où, étant arrivée, elle se mit à genoux pour remercier Dieu de la grâce qu’il lui faisait de l’honorer du martyre. Elle le pria aussi d’exaucer ceux qui demanderaient quelque chose par son intercession. A l’heure même, on entendit une voix céleste l'assurant que sa requête était exaucée, et l’invitant à venir recevoir la couronne qui lui était préparée au ciel. Son père inhumain ne lui laissa pas plus de temps pour faire sa prière : il lui coupa la tête le 4 décembre, sous l’empire de Maximin Ier (et non de Maximien). C'est alors que, se retournant à la Cour, triomphant et fier de son zèle à servir les idoles de l'état, il fut, par le ciel, frappé d'un coup de foudre qui réduisit son corps en cendres. Plus tard, le corps de Sainte-Barbe fut exhumé solennellement et ses reliques transportées en divers pays. Par cette intervention divine contre son père, elle s'était révélée puissance de feu.
Elle eut pour compagne de son martyre une vertueuse femme appelée Julienne, convertie par son exemple.
SOURCE : http://www.stebarbe.com/stebarbe.php
Fille d'un riche païen d'Héliopolis (Hélénopont) nommé Dioscore, Sainte Barbara vivait sous le règne de l'empereur Maximien (284-305). Jaloux de sa remarquable beauté, Dioscore, sur le point de partir pour un lointain voyage, fit enfermer sa fille en haut d'une tour élevée de son palais, afin qu'aucun homme ne la vît. Il avait pris soin de la combler de tous les biens et de lui donner une éducation raffinée, mais il n'avait pu empêcher la jeune fille d'exercer sa fine intelligence de manière conforme à l'image de Dieu déposée en chaque homme. D'elle-même, en contemplant le reflet de la présence de Dieu dans la nature, elle était parvenue à la connaissance du Dieu Un dans la Trinité et, se détournant des vanités, elle ne sentait son coeur s'émouvoir que pour le Christ, l'Epoux céleste. Dioscore avait fait entreprendre la construction d'un bain au pied de la tour et avait ordonné d'y faire seulement deux fenêtres. En voyant la construction pendant l'absence de son père, Barbara commanda aux ouvriers d'en ouvrir une troisième, pour que la salle soit éclairée par une triple lumière, symbole de la triple lumière du Père, du Fils et du Saint-Esprit, qui illumine tout homme venant en ce monde. Lorsque Dioscore rentra de son voyage avec des propositions d'un riche mariage, il s'opposa au refus de la jeune fille qui désirait consacrer au Christ sa virginité. L'étonnement du méchant homme se changea en une violente colère lorsqu'il apprit l'ouverture de la troisième fenêtre sur l'ordre de sa fille. Comme il lui en demandait la raison, Barbara fit devant lui le signe de la Croix et, lui montrant ses trois doigts réunis, elle lui dit: «Le Père, le Fils et le Saint-Esprit, c'est par cette unique lumière que toute la création est illuminée, et c'est par ce signe que les hommes sont sauvés». Ne contenant plus sa fureur, Dioscore saisit son épée et voulut lui trancher immédiatement la tête; mais, heureusement, la jeune vierge s'échappa et se réfugia dans la montagne, où un rocher se fendit miraculeusement pour l'abriter.
A la suite d'une dénonciation, son père finit par la découvrir. Il s'en empara et la livra au gouverneur de la province, devant lequel la Sainte confessa ardemment le Christ et méprisa les idoles. Elle fut alors cruellement frappée, sa chair fut déchirée à coups d'épingles, ses côtés brûlés et sa tête meurtrie par de grosses pierres, de sorte que, jetée dans un sombre cachot, son corps n'était plus qu'une plaie sanglante. Or, la nuit venue, le Seigneur Jésus-Christ lui apparut entouré d'une radieuse lumière et, après avoir guéri toutes ses plaies, Il lui promit de l'assister jusqu'à la fin dans son combat.
Le lendemain, Barbara comparut une seconde fois devant le tyran stupéfait de la voir si soudainement rétablie. On la soumit à de nouveaux supplices, et le juge ordonna de la dépouiller de ses vêtements et de la livrer nue à la risée publique. Mais le Seigneur ne laissa pas les regards impudiques outrager la pureté de Sa vierge, et un globe de feu descendit soudain du ciel, recouvrant la jeune Martyre d'un vêtement de lumière.
Devant le spectacle de l'endurance de la Sainte et des Miracles par lesquels Dieu manifestait Sa faveur, une jeune femme du nom de Julienne se déclara elle aussi Chrétienne et résolue à partager le sort de Barbara. On se saisit d'elle aussitôt et on lui fit partager les supplices de sa compagne. Le tyran décida finalement de faire décapiter les deux jeunes filles. A la prclamation de la sentence, Dioscore, qui avait assisté impitoyable à toutes les tortures de sa fille, proposa au gouverneur de lui trancher la tête de ses propres mains. Une fois rendues au sommet de la montagne où devait avoir lieu l'exécution, Julienne et Barbara offrirent en même temps leurs âmes au Seigneur: la première décapitée par un bourreau et la seconde par celui-là même qui lui avait donné le jour. Mais la vengeance divine ne tarda pas, dès qu'il prit le chemin du retour, le cruel Dioscore fut soudain frappé par un coup de foudre et fut réduit en cendres.
Attribué au « maître de St Goéry », actif à Metz vers 1437-1452. Sainte Barbe, Feuillet 231, verso. Heures de Toul (atelier messin). Velin. (Metz, deuxième quart du XVe siècle). Bibliothèques Médiathèques de Metz
La prière de sainte Barbe pour ceux qui sont persécutés
La rédaction d'Aleteia - Publié le 03/12/20
Sainte Barbe, fêtée par l’Église catholique le 4 décembre, est une des saintes les plus populaires de France. On l'invoque pour demander la protection des personnes persécutées pour leur foi.
Connue comme patronne des pompiers, sainte Barbe est invoquée pour être préservé d’une mort subite et aussi pour avoir la grâce de ne pas mourir sans recevoir les derniers sacrements. Cette Vierge martyre du IIIe siècle qui a refusé énergiquement de se sacrifier aux faux dieux, a subit les supplices les plus horribles avant de mourir, dit-on, décapitée par son propre père. Sa prière dite « sous la torture » peut aider à trouver la force de rester fidèle à sa foi et suivre le Christ chaque jour.
« Ô mon Sauveur, qui connaissez le fonds des
cœurs, qui savez que je ne désire que Vous, que je n’aime que Vos saintes Lois
et que je me suis totalement dédiée à Votre Majesté, pour ne dépendre que de
Votre divine Puissance, je Vous prie et Vous conjure de ne me point abandonner,
de me recevoir entre les bras de votre Miséricorde, de me soutenir et de me
fortifier, afin que je demeure victorieuse dans ce combat. Mon Dieu ne
détournez-pas votre Face de moi et ne me privez pas de la Présence de votre
Saint-Esprit. Ô mon Seigneur et mon Roi qui couvrez quand il Vous plaît le ciel
de nuages et la terre de ténèbres, cachez, je Vous supplie, la nudité de mon
corps afin que les yeux des infidèles ne le voyant point, ils n’aient pas sujet
de faire des railleries de Votre servante ». Sainte Barbe (273-308)
Lire aussi :
Activité de l’Avent : le blé de la sainte Barbe
SOURCE : https://fr.aleteia.org/2020/12/03/la-priere-de-sainte-barbe-pour-ceux-qui-sont-persecutes/?utm_campaign=NL_fr&utm_source=daily_newsletter&utm_medium=mail&utm_content=NL_fr
Sainte Barbe, 1488, Illuminierte Seite aus dem Waldburg-Gebetbuch, WLB Stuttgart, Cod. brev. 12, fol. 49v
Cette sainte veille sur une quantité impressionnante de professions
Rachel Molinatti - Publié le 03/12/18
Connue du grand public pour la dévotion que lui portent les pompiers, sainte Barbe est également la sainte patronne de nombreuses autres professions.
Le 4 décembre, l’Église catholique fête sainte Barbe, dont l’histoire oscille entre traditions et légendes. Vierge martyre du IIIe siècle, on dit qu’elle était d’une grande beauté. Apprenant qu’elle s’était convertie au christianisme, son père lui trancha la tête dans le feu de l’action mais mourut aussitôt foudroyé par retour express du Très-Haut. Encore un qui n’a pas fait long feu.
… et même sur l’école Polytechnique
On la connaît comme la patronne des pompiers, mais saviez-vous qu’elle est également celle des artificiers, des artilleurs, des mineurs, des constructeurs de galeries et de puits, des mathématiciens, des géomètres belges, des égoutiers, des métallurgistes ? En effet, on l’associe à tous ceux qui pratiquent les métiers souterrains et qui manient feu et étincelles, et par extension, à ceux dont les métiers s’appliquent à l’art militaire (comme les mathématiciens et les ingénieurs). Il semblerait même qu’elle veille sur l’élite intellectuelle qui peuple l’école Polytechnique.
Dans un tout autre registre, elle est également invoquée par les carillonneurs, brossiers (fabricants de brosses en tous genres), chapeliers et tapissiers, ainsi que par les Johnnies, ces marchands de Roscoff qui, depuis près de deux siècles, traversent la Manche pour aller vendre leurs oignons rosés chez les Rosbifs (n’y voyez pas là une allusion à une vedette du rock français) car ils partaient traditionnellement après le pardon de sainte Barbe, qui était célébré au mois de juillet. Le moins que l’on puisse dire, c’est qu’elle a beaucoup de cordes à son arc.
SOURCE : https://fr.aleteia.org/2018/12/03/cette-sainte-veille-sur-une-quantite-impressionnante-de-professions/
- 4 December
- formerly 16 December
- limited to local calendars in 1969
A beautiful maiden imprisoned in a high tower by her father Dioscorus for disobedience. While there, she was tutored by philosphers, orators and poets. From them she learned to think, and decided that polytheism was nonsense. With the help of Origen and Valentinian, she converted to Christianity.
Her father denounced her to the local authorities for her faith, and they ordered him to kill her. She escaped, but he caught her, dragged her home by her hair, tortured her, and killed her. He was immediately struck by lightning, or according to some sources, fire from heaven.
Her imprisonment led to her association with towers, then the construction and maintenance of them, then to their military uses. The lightning that avenged her murder led to asking her protection against fire and lightning, and her patronage of firefighters, etc. Her association with things military and with death that falls from the sky led to her patronage of all things related to artillery, and her image graced powder magazines and arsenals for years. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
While there were undoubtedly beautiful converts named Barbara, this saint is legend, and her cultus developed when pious fiction was mistaken for history.
- beheaded by her father c.235 at Nicomedia during the persecution of Maximinus of Thrace
- some relics in Burano, Italy
- some relics in the Cathedral of Saint Vladimir, Kiev, Ukraine
- some relics at the Church of Saint Blaise, Vodnjan, Grad Vodnjan, Istarska, Croatia
- against death by artillery
- against explosions
- against fire
- against impenitence
- against lightning
- against mine collapse
- against storms
- against vermin
- ammunition magazines
- ammunition workers
- bomb technicians
- brass workers
- construction workers
- dying people
- explosives workers
- fire prevention
- fireworks manufacturers
- foundry workers
- against lightning
- military engineers
- ordnance workers
- safety from storms
- saltpetre workers
- stone masons
- sudden death
- in Belgium
- in Brazil
- Engenheiro Caldas
- Santa Bárbara do Leste
- Santa Bárbara do Monte Verde
- Santa Bárbara do Tugúrio
- in Italy
- Santa Barbara, California
- Toa Alto, Puerto Rico
- cannon, its attack being reminiscent of the lightning that struck her father
- catapult, its attack being reminiscent of the lightning that struck her father
- princess in a tower with either the palm of martyrdom or chalice of happy death
- woman holding a feather
- woman holding a tower
- palm of martyrdom
- woman trampling a Saracen
- medals and pendants, page 1
- medals and pendants, page 2
- medals and pendants, page 3
- medals and pendants, page 4
- A Garner of Saints, by Allen Banks Hinds, M.A.
- Book of Saints, by Father Lawrence George Lovasik, S.V.D.
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- Catholic Encyclopedia
- Encyclopedia Britannica
- Golden Legend
- Legends of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, by Father Bonaventure Hammer
- Lives of the Saints, by Father Alban Butler
- Lives of the Saints, by Father Francis Xavier Weninger
- New Catholic Dictionary
- Pictorial Lives of the Saints
- Roman Martyrology, 1914 edition
- The Liturgical Year, by Father Prosper Gueranger
- 1001 Patron Saints and Their Feast Days, Australian Catholic Truth Society
- Christian Iconography
- Defense Video and Imagery Delivery System
- Find A Grave
- Find A Grave
- John Dillon
- Larry Peterson
- Olga’s Gallery
- Saint Charles Parish, Boutte, Louisiana
- Saint Peter’s Basilica Info
- Saints for Sinners
- Martirologio Romano, 2001 edición
- “Saint Barbara“. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 July 2020. Web. 4 December 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/saint-barbara/>
Virgin and Martyr. There is no reference to St. Barbara contained in the authentic early historical authorities for Christian antiquity, neither does her name appear in the original recension of St. Jerome's martyrology. Veneration of the saint was common, however, from the seventh century. At about this date there were in existence legendary Acts of her martyrdom which were inserted in the collection of Symeon Metaphrastes and were used as well by the authors (Ado, Usuard, etc.) of the enlarged martyrologies composed during the ninth century in Western Europe. According to these narratives, which are essentially the same, Barbara was the daughter of a rich heathen named Dioscorus. She was carefully guarded by her father who kept her shut up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world. An offer of marriage which was received through him she rejected. Before going on a journey her father commanded that a 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 she was ill-treated by him and dragged before the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who had her cruelly tortured and finally condemned her to death by beheading. The father himself carried out the death-sentence, but in punishment for this he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body consumed. Another Christian named Juliana suffered the death of a martyr along with Barbara. A pious man called Valentinus buried the bodies of the saints; at this grave the sick were healed and the pilgrims who came to pray received aid and consolation. The emperor in whose reign the martyrdom is placed is sometimes called Maximinus and sometimes Maximianus; owing to the purely legendary character of the accounts of the martyrdom, there is no good basis for the investigations made at an earlier date in order to ascertain whether Maximinus Thrax (235-238) or Maximinus Daza (of the Diocletian persecutions), is meant.
The traditions vary as to the place of martyrdom, two different opinions being expressed: Symeon Metaphrastes and the Latin legend given by Mombritius makes Heliopolis in Egypt the site of the martyrdom, while other accounts, to which Baronius ascribes more weight, give Nicomedia. In the "Martyrologium Romanum parvum" (about 700), the oldest martyrology of the Latin Church in which her name occurs, it is said: "In Tuscia Barbarae virginis et martyris", a statement repeated by Ado and others, while later additions of the martyrologies of St. Jerome and Bede say "Romae Barbarae virginis" or "apud Antiochiam passio S. Barbarae virg.". These various statements prove, however, only the local adaptation of the veneration of the saintly martyr concerning whom there is no genuine historical tradition. It is certain that before the ninth century she was publicly venerated both in the East and in the West, and that she was very popular with the Christian populace. The legend that her father was struck by lightning caused her, probably, to be regarded by the common people as the patron saint in time of danger from thunder-storms and fire, and later by analogy, as the protector of artillerymen and miners. She was also called upon as intercessor to assure the receiving of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist at the hour of death. An occurrence of the year 1448 did much to further the spread of the veneration of the saint. A man named Henry Kock was nearly burnt to death in a fire at Gorkum; he called on St. Barbara, to whom he had always shown great devotion. She aided him to escape from the burning house and kept him alive until he could receive the last sacraments. A similar circumstance is related in an addition to the "Legenda aurea". In the Greek and present Roman calendars the feast of St. Barbara falls on 4 December, while the martyrologies of the ninth century, with the exception of Rabanus Maurus, place it on 16 December. St. Barbara has often been depicted in art; she is represented standing in a tower with three windows, carrying the palm of a martyr in her hand; often also she holds a chalice and sacramental wafer; sometimes cannon are displayed near her.
Passio, in SYMEON METAPHRASES (Migne, P.G., CXVI, col.301 sqq.); MOMBRITIUS, Vitae sanctorum (Venice, 1474), I, fol.74, SURIUS, Deprobatis sanctorum historiis (Cologne, 1575), VI, 690, a work relating the incident at Gorkum; WIRTH, Danae in christlichen Legenden (Vienna, 1892); VITEAU, Passio ns des saints Ecaterine, Pierre d'Alexandrie, Barbara et Ansyia (Paris, 1897); Legenda aurea des Jacobus a Voragine, ed. GRÄSSE (Leipzig, 1846), 901; Martyrologies of BEDE (Migne, P.L., XCIV, col. 1134), ADO (Migne, op. cit., CXXIII, col.415), USUARDUS (ibid., CXXIV, col.765 and 807), RABANUS MAURUS (ibid., CX, col. 1183); GALESINO, S. Barbarae virg. et mart., ed. SURIUS, loc. cit., 690-692; CÉLESTIN, Histoire de S. Barbe (Paris, 1853); VILLEMOT, Histoire de S. Barbe, vierge et martyre (Paris, 1865); PEINE, St. Barbara, die Schutzheilige der Bergleute unde der Artillerie, und ihre Darstellung in der Kunst (Freiburg, 1896).
Copyright © 2020 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Golden Legend
The Life of Saint Barbara
here beginneth the Life of Saint Barbara.
In the time that Maximian reigned there was a rich man, a paynim, which adored and worshipped the idols, which man was named Dioscorus. This Dioscorus had a young daughter which was named Barbara, for whom he did do make a high and strong tower in which he did do keep and close this Barbara, to the end that no man should see her because of her great beauty. Then came many princes unto the said Dioscorus for to treat with him for the marriage of his daughter, which went anon unto her and said: My daughter, certain princes be come to me which require me for to have thee in marriage, wherefore tell to me thine entent and what will ye have to do. Then Saint Barbara returned all angry towards her father and said: My father, I pray you that ye will not constrain me to marry, for thereto I have no will ne thought. After this he departed from her and went into the town where there was one making a cistern or a piscine, for he had many workmen to perform this work, and also he had tofore ordained how he should pay unto each of them their salary, and after this he departed thence and went into a far country where he long sojourned.
Then Saint Barbara, the ancille of our Lord Jesu Christ, descended from the tower for to come see the work of her father, and anon she perceived that there were but two windows only, that one against the south, and that other against the north, whereof she was much abashed and amarvelled, and demanded of the workmen why they had not made no more windows, and they answered that her father had so commanded and ordained. Then Saint Barbara said to them: Make me here another window; they answered: Dame, we fear and dread to anger your father, which commanded us to make no more ne we dare not therefore make no more. The blessed maid said: Do and make that I command you, and I shall content my father, and shall excuse you against him.
Then did they that she commanded to them, by of the manner that she enseigned and showed them. When the holy Saint Barbara walked and came unto the cistern, she made with her finger toward the orient, a cross with her thumb in the stone of marble, the which cross is there yet unto this day, which every man may see that cometh thither by devotion. And when she came unto the side whereas the water descended into the said cistern, she blessed it, and made the sign of the cross, and incontinent the water was hallowed, in which all they that were sick received health, if they had perfect belief in God and in the blessed maid. In this same cistern was this holy maid baptized of a holy man, and lived there a certain space of time, in taking only for her refection honeysuckles and locusts, following the holy precursor of our Lord, Saint John Baptist.
This cistern or piscine is semblable to the fountain of Siloe in which he that was born blind recovered there his sight. It is also like to the piscine named Robatyoa, in which the impotent by the word of God was made whole. These piscines or pecines be fountains perpetual in which all manner sick men, in whatsomever malady they were grieved or tormented, that went therein received fully their health. In this fountain is living water, and it is the water that the Samaritan required of our Lord to have of the holy piscine.
On a time this blessed maid went upon the tower, and there she beheld the idols to which her father sacrificed and worshipped, and suddenly she received the Holy Ghost and became marvellously subtle and clear in the love of Jesu Christ, for she was environed with the grace of God Almighty, of sovereign glory and pure chastity. This holy maid Barbara, adorned with faith, surmounted the devil, for when she beheld the idols she scratched them in their visages in despising them all, and saying: All they be made like unto you which have made you to err, and all them that have affiance in you, and then she went into the tower and worshipped our Lord. And when the work was full performed, her father returned from his voyage, and when he saw there three windows, he demanded of the workmen: Wherefore have ye made three windows? And they answered: Your daughter hath commanded so. Then he made his daughter to come afore him, and demanded her why she had do make three windows, and she answered to him, and said: I have done them to be made because three windows lighten all the world and all creatures, but two make darkness. Then her father took her and went down into the piscine, demanding her how three windows give more light than two. And Saint Barbara answered: These three fenestres or windows betoken clearly the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the which be three persons and one very God, on whom we ought to believe and worship. Then he being replenished with furor, incontinent drew his sword to have slain her, but the holy virgin made her prayer and then marvellously she was taken in a stone and borne into a mountain on which two shepherds kept their sheep, the which saw her fly. And then her father, which pursued after her, went unto the shepherds and demanded after her. And that one, which would have preserved her, said that he had not seen her, but that other, which was an evil man, showed and pointed her with his finger, whom the holy Saint Barbara cursed, and anon his sheep became locusts, and he consumed into a stone. And then her father took her by the hair and drew her down from the mountain and shut her fast in prison, and made her to be kept there by his servants unto the time that he had sent to the judge for to deliver her to the torments. And when the judge was advertised of the faith and belief of the maid he did her to be brought tofore him. Her father went with her, accompanied with his servants threatening her with his sword, and delivered her unto the judge, and conjured him, by the puissance of his gods that, he should torment her with horrible torments. Then sat the judge in judgment, and when he saw the great beauty of Saint Barbara, he said to her: Now choose whether ye will spare yourself and offer to the gods, or else die by cruel torments. Saint Barbara answered to him: I offer myself to my God, Jesu Christ, the which hath created heaven and earth and all other things, and fie on your devils, which have mouths and cannot speak, they have eyes, and cannot see, they have ears, and hear not, they have noses, and smell not, they have hands, and may not feel, and they have feet, and may not go, they that make them, be they made semblable to them, and all they that have fiance and belief in them. Then became the judge all wood and angry, and commanded to unclothe her and beat her with sinews of bulls, and frot her flesh with salt, and when she had long endured this, that her body was all bloody, the judge did do close her in a prison unto the time that he had deliberated of what torments he might make her die. And then at midnight descended a great light and clearness into the prison in which our Lord showed him to her, saying: Barbara, have confidence. and be firm and steadfast. for in heaven and in the earth thou shalt have great joy for thy passion, therefore, doubt not the judge, for I shall be with thee, and I shall deliver thee from all thy pains that any shall make thee suffer, and incontinent she was all whole. And then, when our Lord had said thus, he blessed her and remounted into heaven. Then Saint Barbara was greatly rejoiced by the great comfort of our Lord. And on the morn, the judge commanded that she should be brought tofore him, and when she was come he saw that her wounds appeared not but she was all whole, and he said to her: Behold, Barbara, the bounty of our gods, and how much they love thee, for they have healed thy wounds. Then the blessed Barbara, martyr of Jesu Christ, answered to the judge: Thy gods be semblable to thee, without entendment how may they heal my wounds. They may not help themselves. He that healed me is Jesu Christ, the Son of God, the which will not have thee because thy heart is so indurate and hard with the devils. Then the judge, replenished of ire, commanded that she should be hanged between two forked trees, and that they should break her reins with staves, and burn her sides with burning lamps, and after he made her strongly to be beaten, and hurted her head with a mallet. Then Saint Barbara beheld and looked upward to heaven, saying: Jesu Christ, that knowest the hearts of men, and knowest my thought, I beseech thee to Ieave me not. Then commanded the judge to the hangman that he should cut off with his sword her paps, and when they were cut off, the holy saint looked again towards heaven, saying: Jesu Christ, turn not thy visage from me. And when she had long endured this pain, the judge comnnanded that she should be led with beating through the streets, and the holy virgin the third time beheld the heaven, and said: Lord God, that coverest heaven with clouds, I pray thee to cover my body, to the end that it be not seen of the evil people.
And when she had made her prayer, our Lord came over her, and sent to her an angel which clad her with a white vestment, and the knights led her unto a town called Dallasion, and there the judge commanded to slay her with the sword. And then her father all araged took her out of the hands of the judge and led her up on a mountain, and Saint Barbara rejoiced her in hasting to receive the salary of her victory. And then when she was drawn thither she made her orison, saying: Lord Jesu Christ, which hast formed heaven and earth, I beseech thee to grant me thy grace and hear my prayer, that all they that have memory of thy name and my passion, I pray thee that thou wilt not remember their sins, for thou knowest our fragility. Then came there a voice down from heaven saying unto her: Come, my spouse Barbara, and rest in the chamber of God my Father, which is in heaven, and I grant to thee that thou hast required of me. And when this was said, she came to her father and received the end of her martyrdom with Saint Julian. But when her father descended from the mountain, a fire from heaven descended on him, and consumed him in such wise ehat there could not be found only ashes of all his body. This blessed virgin Saint Barbara received martyrdom with Saint Julian the second nones of December. A noble man called Valentine buried the bodies of these two martyrs, and laid them in a little town in which many miracles were showed in the louing and glory of God Almighty. And Saint Barbara, the holy martyr suffered passion in the time of Maximian, emperor of Rome, and Marcian the judge. Whom we pray and beseech to be our advocatrix unto Almighty God, that by her merits he bring us after this short and transitory life into his glory perdurable. Amen.
SOURCE : http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/golden308.htm
A Garner of Saints – Saint Barbara
(French Barbe) The daughter of a Pagan noble named Dioscorus, who lived at Nicomedia in the time of the Emperor Maximian. Dioscorus built a lofty tower in which he put his lovely daughter, so that no one should see her, and although many desired her in marriage, she refused them all, being inspired by the spirit of Christianity. In the bath constructed in the tower Dioscorus ordered two windows to be made, but Barbara caused a third to be pierced; and when she went to the bath she made the sign of the Cross with her finger, and it immediately appeared as if it had been graven in the marble. Descending into the water she prayed and baptized herself, and when she came out she spat in the faces of the false idols. When her father returned and asked why she had made three windows, she replied that there are three lights which illuminate the world, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Hearing this her father drew his sword and pursued her, but she prayed to God, the walls opened, and she was carried to a mountain where two shepherds were grazing their sheep. When the father came there he asked the shepherds if they had seen his daughter, and one denied with an oath, hoping to save her, but the other pointed her out with his finger, and immediately he and his sheep were turned into stones. Meanwhile Dioscorus dragged his daughter by the hair before the praetor. Here she declared that the idols were nothing but demons, so that the praetor ordered her to be stripped and lashed with thongs. He then sent her to prison, where Christ appeared to her and exhorted her to be of good courage. Brought before the proconsul the following morning, she persisted in her faith, so that he ordered flaming torches to be applied to her sides, had her breasts cut off, and caused her to be dragged naked through the city. But as she was being led she prayed, and an angel appeared, who clothed her in a white garment and healed her breasts and wounds. Then the proconsul commanded that she should be beheaded, but her father carried her off to the mountain where he had first taken her, and cut off her head with his own hand. No sooner had he accomplished this impious act than fire from heaven consumed him. The body of Barbara was buried by a Christian of Nicomedia named Valentianus. She is the patroness of gunners. 4th December.
- Most frequently carries or stands beside a tower with three windows, though the number of these is not invariable.
- Sometimes holds a cup with the host, or stands beside a piece of artillery.
- Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Barbara”. , 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 April 2017. Web. 4 December 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/a-garner-of-saints-saint-barbara/>
SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/a-garner-of-saints-saint-barbara/
Legends of the Fourteen Holy Helpers – Saint Barbara, Virgin and Martyr
Nicomedia, a city in Asia Minor, was Saint Barbara’s birthplace. Her father Dioscurus was a pagan. Fearing that his only child might learn to know and love the doctrines of Christianity, he shut her up in a tower, apart from all intercourse with others. Nevertheless Barbara became a Christian. She passed her time in study, and from her lonely tower she used to watch the heavens in their wondrous beauty. She soon became convinced that the “heavens were telling the glory of God,” a God greater than the idols she had been taught to worship. Her desire to know that God was in itself a prayer which He answered in His own wise way.
The fame of Origen, that famous Christian teacher in Alexandria, reached even the remote tower, and Barbara sent a trusty servant with the request that he would make known to her the truth. Origen sent her one of his disciples, disguised as a physician, who instructed and baptized her. She practised her new religion discreetly while waiting for a favorable opportunity of acquainting her father with her conversion.
This opportunity came in a short time. Some workmen were sent by Dioscurus to make another room in the tower, and when they had made two windows she directed them to make a third. When her father saw this additional window, he asked the reason for it. She replied, “Know, my father, that the soul receives light through three windows, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and the three are one.” The father became so angry at this discovery of her having become a Christian, that he would have killed his daughter with his sword, had she not fled to the top of the tower. He followed her, and finally had her in his power. First he wreaked his vengeance on her in blows, then clutching her by the hair he dragged her away and thrust her into a hut to prevent her escape. Next he tried every means to induce her to renounce her faith; threats, severe punishments, and starvation had no effect on the constancy of the Christian maiden.
Finding himself powerless to shake his daughter’s constancy, Dioscurus delivered her to the proconsul Marcian, who had her scourged and tortured, but without causing her to deny the Faith. During her sufferings, her father stood by, exulting in the torments of his child. Next night, after she had been taken back to prison, Our Lord appeared to her and healed her wounds. When Barbara appeared again before him, Marcian was greatly astonished to find no trace of the cruelties that had been perpetrated on her body. Again she resisted his importunities to deny the Faith, and when he saw that all his efforts were in vain, he pronounced the sentence of death. Barbara was to be beheaded. Her unnatural father claimed the privilege to execute it with his own hands, and with one blow severed his daughter’s head from her body, on December 4, 237.
At the moment of the saint’s death a great tempest arose and Dioscurus was killed by lightning. Marcian, too, was overtaken by the same fate.
Domenico Ghirlandaio (1448–1494). St Barbara Crushing her Infidel Father, with a Kneeling Donor, vers 1473, 68 X 74
Since early times Saint Barbara is invoked as the patroness against lightning and explosions, and is called upon by those who desire the sacraments of the dying in their last illness, and many are the instances of the efficacy of her intercession.
We all wish for a happy and blessed death. To attain it, we must make the preparation for it the great object of our life; we must learn to die to the world and to ourselves, and strive after perfection in virtue. There is no greater comfort in adversity, no more powerful incentive to withdrawing our affections from this world, than to remember the blessing of a happy death. Well prepared, death may strike us in any form whatsoever, and however suddenly, it will find us ready.
We can be guilty of no greater folly than to delay our preparation for death, repentance, the reception of the sacraments, and the amendment of our life, from day to day, from the time of health to the time of illness, and in illness to the very last moments, thinking that even then we can obtain pardon. Saint Augustine observes: “It is very dangerous to postpone the performance of a duty on which our whole eternity depends to the most inconvenient time, the last hour.” And Saint Bernard remarks: “In Holy Scripture we find one single instance of one who received pardon at the last moment. He was the thief crucified with Jesus. He is alone, that you despair not; he is alone, also, that you sin not by presumption on God’s mercy.” If you, therefore, wish for a happy death, prepare for it in time.
Cercs mining museum. Santa Barbara image at the Galeria de Sant Romà.
Prayer of the Church
O God, who among the wonders of Thy might didst grant the victory of martyrdom also to the weaker sex, graciously grant us that we, by recalling the memory of Thy blessed virgin and martyr Barbara, through her example may be led to Thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
– from by Father Bonaventure Hammer, 1908
SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/legends-of-the-fourteen-holy-helpers-saint-barbara-virgin-and-martyr/
Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Barbara, Virgin and Martyr
The holy virgin and martyr, Saint Barbara, who, from the most ancient times, has been celebrated in the whole Christian world, was born of heathen parents in Nicomedia, of Bithynia. She was much beloved by her father, Dioscorus, on account of her unusual intelligence. He appointed a tower as a special place, well fitted up, for her dwelling, and chose the best masters to instruct her in art and science, but especially in paganism, as he feared she might be induced to unite herself to one not agreeable to him, or be seduced by the Christians, of whom he was a great enemy. But just this solicitude of her father gave her cause to think, and thus to arrive at the knowledge of the true God. She contemplated the heavens, the sun, moon and stars, in their regular course; she meditated on the changing of the seasons; looked on the wonderful creation of the world and its inhabitants, and justly concluded from it that there must be a Creator – that He alone must be the true God, and that the gods she worshipped had no power. To these contemplations she united prayers, and also led a most blameless life. The Almighty, who forsakes not one who aids himself, gave her opportunity to become instructed in the Christian religion, and to receive holy baptism, without the knowledge of her father. Meanwhile, a suitor for her hand came to her father and asked his consent. Dioscorus was not unwilling to grant the wish, as the young man was his equal in rank and wealth; but he would make his daughter acquainted with the offer he had received for her before he gave his word. Barbara had a great many objections; and her father, who did not desire that she should hastily give her consent, and would not coerce her, urged her no further; and as he was about to set out on a long journey, he thought it but right to give her some time for consideration. Barbara requested to have, for her greater comfort, a bathing-room added to her dwelling, which Dioscorus gladly granted her. The object of the holy virgin was, to have a special apartment where, with those who, like herself, were secretly Christians, she could pray to the true God. The father ordered two windows for the new room; Barbara, however, had a third added, in honor of the three Divine Persons in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. The room was, by the pagan’s order, adorned with idolatrous statues, with which the holy virgin would gladly have dispensed. Looking at them, she wept over the blindness of her father, who desired that she should worship them as gods. Going from one to another, she spat upon them, saying: “Those who honor you as gods are worthy to be turned into what you are made of – wood and stone.” After this, she went to a column of marble, and with her fingers pressed the sign of the cross upon it, as if it had been wax. After her death, the health of many infirm, who devoutly kissed this miraculous cross, was restored.
No sooner had her father returned from his journey, than he desired to know his daughter’s resolution. Already prepared by prayer for the approaching struggle, she said, unhesitatingly, that she would never consent to marry a pagan, as, being a Christian, she had chosen a much more noble spouse, Christ the Lord. Her father was speechless at this unexpected answer, and, when able to control himself, told her either to renounce Christ, or prepare herself for the most cruel death. The greater the wrath of the blind Dioscorus became, the more fearless was Barbara. This enraged him so greatly, that he seized his sword to take her life on the spot. Barbara, to escape his rage, fled, while her father, sword in hand, pursued her out of the city. According to an ancient legend, the fugitive virgin came to a rock, which miraculously opened, thus offering her a passage, and shielded her, for the moment, against her father’s wrath. The latter, however, was not touched by this visible miracle, but passed over the mountain and pursued the maiden, as the hound pursues the deer. Barbara had, meanwhile, taken refuge in a cave, and would not have been found had not two shepherds informed the infuriated father of her retreat Hastening towards the place, he found her praying. No tiger could assail his prey with more rage than this tyrant assailed his innocent child. He threw her on the ground, stamped upon her with his feet, beat her, and finally dragged her by the hair into the hut of a peasant, where he locked her up, until he had her brought back to his house by soldiers. Now began her martyrdom, which was so severe, that what she had before suffered was as nothing in comparison; for Dioscorus was determined to force her to deny Christ Seeing, at last that all was in vain, he gave her up to the governor, Martian, that she might be dealt with according to the laws of the land.
Martian at first showed compassion for the Saint, in consideration for her youth, and endeavored to win her by flattery and kind words. Not succeeding in this, he had recourse to severity, and had her whipped with scourges, until her whole body seemed to be but one great wound. After this, she was dragged to a dungeon, where she was left to die. The Almighty, however, who had destined her to still more glorious combats, sent an Angel during the night, who healed all her wounds, and encouraged her to perseverance, with the promise that she would overcome all tortures by Divine assistance. The following day she was again brought before Martian, who, not comprehending how Barbara had been healed, ascribed it to his gods. The virgin, however, said: “No, no, Martian! Wood and stone, of which your idols are made, have not this power. It is the work of the God of heaven and earth, whom I worship as the only true God, and for whose honor I am willing to die.” Martian, full of anger at these words, ordered her to be tormented more cruelly than on the previous day. After her body was all bruised and wounded, she was barbarously burned with torches, and at last both her breasts were cut off. The torture was very great, but the eagerness of Barbara to suffer for Christ’s sake was still greater. She gave no sign of pain, but turning her eyes to heaven, said: “Let not thy hand, O Lord, forsake me! In Thee I am full of strength; without Thee, I am powerless!” A new martyrdom followed after this. The tyrant commanded her to be scourged in public through all the streets of the city. This was more terrible to her than all her previous tortures; hence she turned to the Almighty, praying humbly that she might not be exposed to the eyes of the heathen. She was immediately surrounded by a bright lustre, that veiled her form from all eyes. The barbarous Dioscorus was present at the martyrdom of his holy daughter, from beginning to end, and not only looked with satisfaction at the whipping, burning, and cutting, but animated the executioners in their cruelties; and when Martian, at last, sentenced Barbara to be beheaded, he asked, as a favor, to be allowed to take the place of the executioner, and behead his daughter. Having obtained his request, Dioscorus took her to a neighboring mountain, followed by a great crowd of people. Barbara rejoiced to be thought worthy to die for Christ’s sake; and no sooner had she reached the mountain, than she again thanked God for all the graces that He had bestowed upon her, and begged Him to assist her to the end. A voice was heard from on high, which invited the undaunted martyr to come and receive the crown that awaited her. Kneeling down, she bared her neck, and received from her father the fatal stroke. She was hardly twenty years of age.
Juliana, a pious woman, who had been present at the martyrdom, burned with the holy desire to give her life, also, for Christ, and was beheaded on the same day, after she had suffered great torments. Her body was laid beside the body of Saint Barbara; but her soul followed the soul of the fearless virgin into heaven.
Quite different was the end of the inhuman father. Whilst he was descending from the mountain, with the blood of his innocent child still on his hands, a terrible thunder-storm arose, during which he was struck by lightning, and sank dead upon the ground. Thus the father went to hell on the same day on which his daughter ascended triumphantly to heaven. We must not omit to remark that Saint Barbara is especially invoked in the whole Christian world for the grace of receiving the last sacrament before death; and many facts have shown that this invocation has the desired effect.
Master of Frankfurt (circa 1460 –circa 1533 ). Saint Barbara, vers 1510-1520, Inner right wing of a triptych, the central panel of which is now at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, 158,7 X 70,8, Mauritshuis
• Saint Barbara was executed by her own father, because she would not obey him, and deny the Christian faith. Dioscorus, the father, became the murderer of his own daughter. Saint Barbara was right in not obeying her father; for when parents command anything that is against God, as the wicked Dioscorus did, children are not obliged to obey. In such circumstances, we must obey God, not our parents. Dioscorus’s deed in beheading his own daughter, because of her constancy in the Christian faith, was most wicked; and as he, to all appearances, died in his wickedness, he now justly suffers in hell. Still greater punishment shall those parents suffer in hell, who deprive their children of their eternal life, and kill their soul by preventing them from doing good, and tempting them, by words and by examples, to do evil: for the spiritual, the eternal life is so much more to be valued than that of the body. Parents, therefore, should take good care that they do not become spiritual murderers of their children; as, otherwise, the precious blood which ransomed those souls will cry for vengeance against them before the Judgment-seat of the Most High. “The wickedness of others has been our ruin; our parents have been our murderers. Thus, according to Saint Cyprian, will those children cry, standing before the eternal Judge. Children also, should be on their guard, and not allow their parents to lead them to sin, and consequently to destruction. To say before the Judgment-seat of the Almighty: “Our parents brought us to the path of sin,” will not be sufficient to excuse them, for, their own conscience will answer: “You knew that obedience was not required, when your parents commanded you to act contrary to the laws of God.”
• Saint Barbara is the special patroness of the dying. Her intercession has obtained for many, the grace not to die suddenly, or without having received the holy Sacraments. Try to obtain this grace, by honoring her and begging earnestly for it. But while doing this, do not neglect anything that you are obliged to do to obtain what you desire. Prepare yourself in time for death, and keep yourself in such a manner, that if anything should happen to you, you may not die unhappily; for, God has nowhere promised that these who ask the intercession of Saint Barbara, will be saved from a sudden death; but He has commanded you to keep yourself prepared for death, if you desire that your last hour should be calm and happy. It is the greatest folly to postpone preparation for death, penance, reformation of life, or perhaps even the confession of certain sins, from one day to another, from one year to another, from health to sickness, and in sickness to the very last hour of life, in the thought that we can always obtain pardon. Of those who act in such a manner, Saint Augustine says: “They seduce themselves, they deceive themselves, and play with death. It is highly dangerous, extremely foolish, and a horror to God, if we postpone anything on which our whole eternity depends, until the last convenient opportunity.” “If you tell me,” says Saint Chrysostom, “that God has given many sinners time to convert themselves at the end of their lives, then I will ask you: Will He give it also to you? where is your assurance of it?” And of how many do we know with certainty that they obtained pardon in their last hour? Saint Bernard says: “In the entire Scripture, only one is mentioned, the thief who was crucified with our Lord; one, that you may not despair; only one, that you may not presume.” Thinking of this one, think also of the other, who was crucified with Christ, but did not obtain pardon on that account.
It was on Good-Friday, and he hung next to the Heart of Jesus on the Cross, yet he obtained no grace, no mercy. It is true that he did not seek it; but who knows if you will seek it? A sudden death may deprive you of the privilege of seeking it. Confusion and despair may overwhelm you in such a manner that you may not desire to seek it. If you wish to be sure, prepare yourself in time. “Tarry not in the error of the ungodly; give glory before death. Praise perisheth from the dead as nothing.” (Eccl. 17) Confess before you are in danger of death, or before this danger is imminent. The confession of him who is half-dead, who has almost lost his consciousness, can not be trusted.
- Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Barbara, Virgin and Martyr”. , 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 June 2018. Web. 4 December 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/weningers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-barbara-virgin-and-martyr/>
SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/weningers-lives-of-the-saints-saint-barbara-virgin-and-martyr/
The Liturgical Year: Saint Barbara, Virgin and Martyr
Although, in the Roman Liturgy, Saint Barbara is merely commemorated in the Office of Saint Peter Chrysologus, yet the Church has approved an entire Office for the use of those Churches which honour the memory of this illustrious Virgin in a special manner. The Legend which follows, although of considerable weight, has not, consequently, the authority of those which are promulgated for the use of the whole Church, in the Roman Breviary. Let us not, on this account, be the less fervent in honouring this glorious Martyr, so celebrated in the East, and whose feast has been for so many ages admitted, with more or less solemnity, into the Roman Church. The Acts of her martyrdom, though not of the highest antiquity, contain nothing in them but what redounds to the glory of God and the honour of the Saint. We have already shown the liturgical importance which attaches to Saint Barbara in the season of Advent. Let us admire the constancy wherewith this Virgin waited for her Lord, who came at the appointed hour, and was for her, as the Scripture speaks, a Spouse of blood, because he put the strength of her love of him to the severest of all tests.
About Saint Barbara
Barbara, a Virgin of Nicomedia, the daughter of Dioscorus, a nobleman, but a superstitious pagan, came readily, by the assistance of divine grace, from the contemplation of the visible things of creation to the knowledge of the invisible. Wherefore, she devoted herself to God alone and to the things of God. Her father, desirous to preserve her from all danger of insult, to which he feared her great beauty might expose her, shut her up in a tower. There the pious virgin passed her days in meditation and prayer, studying to please God alone, whom she had chosen as her Spouse. She courageously rejected several offers of marriage, which were made to her, through her father, by rich nobles. But her father hoped, that by separating himself by a long absence from his child, her intentions would easily change. He first ordered that a bath should be built for her in the tower, so that she might want for nothing; and then he set out on a journey into distant countries.
During her father’s absence, Barbara ordered that to the two windows already in the tower a third should be added, in honour of the blessed Trinity; and that on the edge of the bath the sign of the most holy Cross should be drawn. When Dioscorus returned home, and saw these changes, and was told their meaning, he became so incensed against his daughter, that he went in search of her with a naked sword in his hand, and, but for the protection of God, he would cruelly have murdered her. Barbara had taken to flight: an immense rock opened before her, and she found a path by which she reached the top of a mountain, and there she hid herself in a cave. Not long after, however, she was discovered by her unnatural father, who savagely kicked and struck her, and dragging her by the hair over the sharp rocks, and rugged ways, he handed her over to the governor Marcian, that he might punish her. He, therefore, having used every means to shake her constancy, and finding that all was in vain, gave orders that she should he stripped and scourged with thongs, the wounds to be then scraped with potsherd, and so dragged to prison. There Christ, surrounded by an immense light, appearing to her, strengthened her in a divine manner for the sufferings she was yet to endure. A matron, named Juliana, who witnessed this, was converted to the faith, and became her companion in the palm of martyrdom.
At length Barbara had her body torn with iron hooks, her sides burnt with torches, and her head bruised with mallets. During these tortures she consoled her companion, and exhorted her to fight manfully to the last. Both of them had their breasts cut off, were dragged naked through the streets, and beheaded. The head of Barbara was cut off by her own father, who in his excessive wickedness had hardened his heart thus far. But his ferocious cruelty was not long left unpunished, for instantly, and on the very spot, he was struck dead by lightning. The Emperor Justinus had the body of this most holy virgin translated from Nicomedia to Constantinople. It was afterwards obtained by the Venetians from the Emperors Constantine and Basil; and having been translated from Constantinople to Venice, was deposited with great solemnity in the Basilica of Saint Mark. Lastly, at the earnest request of the Bishop of Torcello and his sister, who was abbess, it was translated in the year of grace 1009, to the Nuns’ Church of Saint John the Evangelist, in the diocese of Torcello; where it was placed in a worthy sepulchre, and from that time has never ceased to be the object of most fervent veneration.
Quadre de santa Bàrbara a la casa Orduña, el Castell de Guadalest. Oli sobre tela, 119 X 80
Such is the account of the life and martyrdom of the courageous Virgin of Nicomedia. She is invoked in the Church against lightning, on account of the punishment inflicted by divine justice on her execrable father. This same incident of the Saint’s history has suggested several Catholic customs: thus, her name is sometimes given to the hold of men-of war where the ammunition is stowed; she is the Patroness of Artillery-men, Miners, etc; and she is invoked by the faithful against the danger of a sudden death. Of the Liturgical pieces, used in our Western Churches, in honour of Saint Barbara, we will content ourselves with the following beautiful Antiphon, composed in the days of chivalry.
O immeasurable mercy of divine goodness, which did enlighten Barbara with the brightness of the true light, making her worthy, by her contempt for what was dazzling in earthly grandeur, to be admitted to a union with God! As the lily among thorns, as light in darkness, so shone Barbara. Alleluia.
The Greek Church is profuse in its praises of Saint Barbara. We will take from the Menaea a few out of the many Strophes which are sung in honour of the holy Martyr.
Dionisius (1444–1502). Великомученица Варвара
Hymn of the Greek Church
When welcome death came before you, O venerable Martyr Barbara! joyously and nimbly did you run your course, and being immolated by the wicked hands of an impious parent, you wast offered a victim to God. Now, therefore, are you in the choir of the truly wise Virgins, and contemplate the beauty of your Spouse.
This lamb of yours, O Jesus, cries to you with a loud voice: You, O my Spouse, do I desire, you do I seek by my combat; I am immolated and buried in your baptism; I suffer for you, that I may reign with you; I die for you, that I may live in you; receive me, therefore, as an unreserved sacrifice lovingly sacrificed to you. Save our souls, O merciful Jesus, by her prayers.
Glorious Barbara! most sacred rose grown from a thorny stem, sweetly perfuming the Church, and ruddy by the blood of your battle! we this day most fervently proclaim you blessed.
Neither the sweetness of luxury, nor the flower of beauty, nor riches, nor the pleasures of youth, could rob you of your energy, O glorious Barbara, most fair Virgin, espoused to Christ.
All stood in amazement at witnessing your combat; for you didst endure the tortures, and chains, and cruelties, of your persecutors, O Barbara, of wide-world fame! Therefore, did God give you the crown you did covet; you did run your course with courage, and he healed you.
Full of love for Jesus your Spouse, your bright lamp was well trimmed, and your virtues shed forth their splendour, O Virgin, worthy of praise! Therefore didst you enter in with Christ to the marriage-feast, and he wreathed you with the crown of your combat. We celebrate your memory, O Barbara! Deliver us from danger.
By those three apertures, which you would have to your bath, you did symbolise, O Barbara, the mystery of Baptism, which, by the light of the Trinity, imparts to our souls a cleansing that illuminates.
Fleeing the terrible violence of her father, a rock immediately opened a reception of safety to Barbara, as happened heretofore to the illustrious Protomartyr of her sex, Thecla, for whom Christ worked a like miracle.
O Martyr Barbara! you wast sacrificed with a sword, by your father, like in this to Abraham; but his devotedness was to the devil.
Jesus appeared to you, O Barbara, in your prison: he was surrounded by light inaccessible, but he came to animate your confidence, heal your wounds and make you glad: this gave wings to your love of your Lord.
When for Christ’s sake you were stripped of your garments, O venerable Barbara! a bright Angel clothed you, as a bride, with a splendid robe, which covered your wounds; for you have put on the stole which gives creatures a divine transformation.
Your prophecy, Christ, has been evidently fulfilled: for the father delivers his daughter up to death, nay himself becomes her murderer; but this cruel parent of your Martyr is, in a wonderful manner, consumned by fire from heaven.
You, most honoured Virgin, having entered the path of combatants, did resist your father’ demands and, as a wise virgin bearing her lamp, you went into the mansion of your Lord: he gave you, O generous Martyr, the power to drive away pestilence; pray to God for us who hymn your praises, and deliver us from our spiritual diseases.
To this the voice of so many Churches we join ours, O faithful Virgin! and though we are unworthy, yet do we offer you our praise and our prayers. Behold! our Lord cometh, and the darkness of the night is upon us; give to our lamp both the light which will guide us, and the oil which will keep in the light. You know that he who came for love of you, and with whom you are now united for all eternity, is coming to visit us too; pray for us that nothing may keep us from receiving him. May we go towards him courageously and swiftly as you did, and being once with him, may we never be separated from him again, for he is the centre where we creatures find our only rest. Pray also, glorious Martyr, that the faith in the Blessed Trinity may be ever increasing in this world. May our enemy, Satan, be confounded by every tongue’s confessing the Threefold light, and the triumphant Cross which sanctifies the waters of Baptism. Remember, O blessed Barbara, you Spouse of Jesus, that he has put in your gentle hands the power not of hurling but of staying and averting the thunderbolt. Protect our ships against the fires of heaven and of war. Shield by your protection the arsenals where are placed the defence of our country. Hear the prayers of them that invoke you, whether in the fierceness of the storm, or in the dark depths of the earth; and save us all from the awful chastisement of a sudden death.
– from the book , by the Very Reverend Dom Prosper Gueranger, Abbot of Solesmes, translated from the French by the Revered Dom Laurence Shepherd, Monk of the English-Benedictine Congregation, 2nd edition; published in Dublin Ireland by James Duffy, 15 Wellington-Quay, 1870
SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/the-liturgical-year-saint-barbara-virgin-and-martyr/
Rubens, Sir Peter Paul (1577 - 1640), Saint Barbara fleeing from her Father, circa 1620, oil on panel , 326 X 462, Dulwich Picture Gallery
Il padre di Barbara, Dioscuro, fece costruire una torre per rinchiudervi la bellissima figlia richiesta in sposa da moltissimi pretendenti. Ella, però, non aveva intenzione di sposarsi, ma di consacrarsi a Dio. Prima di entrare nella torre, non essendo ancora battezzata e volendo ricevere il sacramento della rigenerazione, si recò in una piscina d’acqua vicino alla torre e vi si immerse tre volte dicendo: “Battezzasi Barbara nel nome del Padre, del Figlio e dello Spirito Santo”. Per ordine del padre, la torre avrebbe dovuto avere due finestre, ma Barbara ne volle tre in onore della S.ma Trinità. Il padre, pagano, venuto a conoscenza della professione cristiana della figlia, decise di ucciderla, ma ella, passando miracolosamente fra le pareti della torre, riuscì a fuggire. Nuovamente catturata, il padre la condusse davanti al magistrato, affinché fosse tormentata e uccisa crudelmente. Il prefetto Marciano cercò di convincere Barbara a recedere dal suo proposito; poi, visti inutili i tentativi, ordinò di tormentarla avvolgendole tutto il corpo in panni rozzi e ruvidi, tanto da farla sanguinare in ogni parte. Durante la notte, continua il racconto seguendo uno schema comune alle leggende agiografiche, Barbara ebbe una visione e fu completamente risanata. Il giorno seguente il prefetto la sottomise a nuove e più crudeli torture: sulle sue carni nuovamente dilaniate fece porre piastre di ferro rovente. Una certa Giuliana, presente al supplizio, avendo manifestato sentimenti cristiani, venne associata al martirio: le fiamme, accese ai loro fianchi per tormentarle, si spensero quasi subito. Barbara, portata ignuda per la città, ritornò miracolosamente vestita e sana, nonostante l’ordine di flagellazione. Finalmente, il prefetto la condannò al taglio della testa; fu il padre stesso che eseguì la sentenza. Subito dopo un fuoco discese dal cielo e bruciò completamente il crudele padre, di cui non rimasero nemmeno le ceneri.
L’imperatore Giustino, nel sec. VI, avrebbe trasferito le reliquie della martire dall’Egitto a Costantinopoli; qualche secolo più tardi i veneziani le trasferirono nella loro città e di qui furono recate nella chiesa di S. Giovanni Evangelista a Torcello (1009). Il culto della martire fu assai diffuso in Italia, probabilmente importato durante il periodo dell’occupazione bizantina nel sec. VI, e si sviluppò poi durante le Crociate. Se ne trovano tracce in Toscana, in Umbria, nella Sabina. A Roma, poi, secondo la testimonianza di Giovanni Diacono (Vita, IV,89), s. Gregorio Magno, quando ancora era monaco, amava recarsi a pregare nell’oratorio di S. Barbara. Il testo, però, ha valore solo per il IX sec.; comunque, è certo che in questo secolo erano stati costruiti oratori in onore di B., dei quali fa testimonianza il Liber Pontificalis (ed. L. Duchesne, II, pp. 50, 116) nelle biografie di Stefano IV (816-17) e Leone IV (847-55).
Barbara è particolarmente invocata contro la morte improvvisa (allusione a quella del padre, secondo la leggenda); in seguito la sua protezione fu estesa a tutte le persone che erano esposte nel loro lavoro al pericolo di morte istantanea, come gli artificieri, gli artiglieri, i carpentieri, i minatori; oggi è venerata anche come protettrice dei vigili del fuoco. Nelle navi da guerra il deposito delle munizioni è denominato “Santa Barbara”.
La festa di Barbara è celebrata il 4 dicembre.
Autore: Gian Domenico Gordini
Voir aussi : http://suite101.fr/article/le-culte-de-sainte-barbara-en-pologne-a21857