Saint Barbara

Saint Barbara (Ancient Greek: Ἁγία Βαρβάρα; Coptic: Ϯⲁⲅⲓⲁ Ⲃⲁⲣⲃⲁⲣⲁ; Church Slavonic: Великомученица Варва́ра Илиопольская; Arabic: القديسة الشهيدة بربارة), known in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the Great Martyr Barbara, was an early Christian Greek saint and martyr.[1]

St. Barbara with her attribute three-windowed tower, central panel of St. Barbara Altarpiece (1447), National Museum in Warsaw
Virgin martyr
BornMid-third century
Heliopolis (Roman Phoenicia) or Nicomedia, Bithynia
DiedLate-third century to early-fourth century (executed by her father)
Venerated in
AttributesThree-windowed tower, palm, chalice, lightning, a crown of martyrdom
PatronagePaternò, Rieti (Italy); armourers; architects; artillerymen; firemen; firework makers; mathematicians; miners; tunnelers; lightning; chemical engineers; prisoners; Lebanon

Saint Barbara is often portrayed with miniature chains and a tower. As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Barbara is a popular saint, perhaps best known as the patron of armourers, artillerymen, military engineers, miners and others who work with explosives because of her legend's association with lightning, and also of mathematicians. A 15th-century French version of her story credits her with thirteen miracles, many of which reflect the security she offered that her devotees would not die before getting to make confession and receiving extreme unction.[2]

Despite the legends detailing her story, the earliest references to her supposed 3rd-century life do not appear until the 7th century, and veneration of her was common, especially in the East, from the 9th century.[2] Because of doubts about the historicity of her legend,[3][4] she was removed from the General Roman Calendar in the 1969 revision, though not from the Catholic Church's list of saints.[5]

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