Today, December 4th, is Feast Day for the Greek Christian martyr and saint, who our American Riviera called Santa Barbara, is named after. Saint Barbara was born in Heliopolis, Phoenicia, back in the 3rd Century A.D. She is considered one of the “Fourteen Holy Helpers,” a group of venerated Saints during the epidemic of an arbitrary disease that killed up to 200 million Europeans in the heart of the 14th Century, known as the Plague, or, the Black Death.
Saint Barbara was known to be extraordinarily beautiful. She was locked away in a tower by order of her wealthy Pagan father, Dioscorus. According to Catholic history, Dioscorus wanted to “protect” her from the corrupted world, but was not a Christian himself. Dioscorus sent his pagan teachers to her secluded tower where they taught her the worship of pagan gods. Barbara stared out of her tower window every day and night, at the moon and stars and golden ball of fire she said was God’s creation, and over time, Saint Barbara secretly converted to Christianity through a book sent up in a basket and rope — the same way she got her food — and rejected her father’s pagan teachings.
When her father found this out he drew his sword to decapitate her. Barbara ran and made it to a farm where two Shepherds lived. Dioscorus looked for his daughter as she hid deep in the hills, until one of the Sheperds no longer held his tongue and the secret of his daughter’s presence.
The legend is, the man who betrayed the beautiful saint turned to stone, along with his livestock and farm.
She was tortured by her own father and his pagan friends. But every morning the cuts and bruises and markings of the beatings and torture were gone. She said it was the work of Christianity and would not give up her faith so they tortured her more and paraded her through the town without clothes and beat her and humiliated her until her father beheaded her himself. But on his way home, her father Dioscorus was struck by lightning, then went up in flames for the murder of the beloved Saint Barbara.
*Saint Barbara’s tomb has been known to be a place of miracles, her Feast Day is today, December 4th, so I wrote this for respect of my Greek Christian friends, and anyone else who enjoyed the story I learned from a few documentaries from the History Channel and Catholicism websites.