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St. Barbara

Saint Barbara

Virgin & Martyr

Barbara has been the subject of many pious legends, some quite extravagant, leading some to conclude that she could not have existed. Yet her long history of intercession clearly demonstrates otherwise. She was certainly a virgin martyr, who died for the faith in the 3rd or early 4th century. The most consistent aspect of her popular story involves her imprisonment in a high tower by her father. Through her studies in the tower she converted to Christianity, and her pagan father furiously denounced her to the authorities before carrying out her execution with his own hands. He was almost immediately struck by lightning, and thus Barbara has long been invoked against lightning strikes, explosions and fire, as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. She is also a patroness of artillerymen, lending her name to the word for gunpowder magazines in several languages; and because of her imprisonment in the tower, she is popular with builders and architects.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for December 4th

ST. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS, bishop, confessor, and doctor of the church, who is mentioned on the 2nd of this month.

At Nicomedia, the passion of St. Barbara, virgin and martyr, in the persecution of Maximinus. After a series of sufferings, a long imprisonment, burning with torches and the cutting off of her breasts, she terminated her martyrdom by the sword.

At Constantinople, the saints Theophanes and his companions.

In Pontus, blessed Meletius, bishop and confessor, who joined to an eminent gift of knowledge the more distinguished glory of fortitude and integrity of life.

At Bologna, St. Felix, bishop, who previously had been deacon of the church of Milan, under St. Ambrose.

In England, St. Osmund, bishop and confessor.

At Cologne, St. Annan, bishop.

In Mesopotamia, St. Maruthas, bishop, who restored the churches of God that had been ruined in Persia by the persecution of king Isdegerdes. Being renowned for many miracles, he merited to be honored even by his enemies.

At Parma, St. Bernard, cardinal and bishop of that city. He belonged to the Congregation of Vallumbrosa, of the Order of St. Benedict.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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