Friday, 4 December 2020

barbara of heliopolis

Venerated on this day as a saint and martyr, Barbara was a third century Greek maiden, a steadfast convent and affiliated with the Fourteen Holy Helpers and enjoys an extensive and varied patronage. Barbara was, according to her hagiographer and the Golden Legend, the daughter of a wealthy and prominent pagan whom was seeking to strengthen local allegiances through strategically marrying her off, keeping her locked away in a tower to spare her from outside influence, though in this splendid isolation, Barbara yet became a Christian and rejected the betrothal her father had arranged. Suspecting it was one of her attendants that introduced his daughter to the gospel, her father ordered an adjoining private bath house be added to the tower. The final straw for her father was Barbara’s architectural input to her new quarters, installing three windows to represent the Holy Trinity instead of the two that her father originally designed. Flying into a rage, the father drew his sword, but through the power of prayer, Barbara created a rift in spacetime and opened a portal in the wall of the tower that led her to a remote mountain gorge. There one shepherd betrayed Barbara’s act of teleportation to her father’s men, transformed into stone and his flock of sheep into locusts for divulging her whereabouts. Barbara was captured a brought before the prefect for sentencing brutally tortured though refusing to relent. Daily for some weeks, Barbara would be nightly bathed in a miraculous, healing light and emerge from her prison cell with no wounds or signs of the previous beatings. Burning her failed as well so her father undertook to carry out the punishment of the condemned by beheading Barbara himself. This finally worked but in retribution, Barbara’s father was struck by lightning afterwards and consumed by flames. Due to circumstances surrounding her death, Barbara is invoked against flame and lightning and by extension is the patron saint of dynamiters, pyrotechnicians, artillery and mining—that is any professional who face the danger of sudden and violent death in discharge of their duties, and might not have the change to repent their sins or receive extreme unction at the moment of expiring. According to some sources, the barbiturate family of drugs synthesised first by chemist Adolf von Baeyer (not to be company that was originally a dyestuffs factory founded by Fredrich Bayer) in 1864 on her feast day and are so called in her honour.