4 December; removed from revised Roman calendar and cultus suppressed in 1969
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; relics at Burano, Italy, and Kiev, Russia
against death by artillery; against explosions; against fire; against impenitence; against lightning; against mine collapse; against storms; ammunition magazines; ammunition workers; architects; armourers; artillery; artillerymen; boatmen; bomb technicians; brass workers; brewers; builders; carpenters; Colleferro, Italy; construction workers; dying people; explosives workers; fire; fire prevention; firefighters; fireworks; fireworks manufacturers; fortifications; founders; geologists; gravediggers; gunners; hatmakers; hatters; lightning; mariners; martyrs; masons; mathematicians; military engineers; milliners; miners; Montecatini Terme, Italy; ordnance workers; prisoners; safety from storms; sailors; saltpetre workers; Santa Barbara, California; smelters; stone masons; stonecutters; storms; sudden death; Syria; tilers; Toa Alto, Puerto Rico; warehouses; watermen
cannon; chalice; host; princess in a tower with either the palm of martyrdom or chalice of happy death; woman holding a tower or feather; woman trampling a Saracen; palm of martyrdom; tower