Great Martyr Barbara
Date of Birth:
Date of Death:
Secretly became a Christian at a time when Christians were persecuted
Executed by her own father
Saint Barbara, known in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the Great Martyr Barbara, was an early Christian saint and martyr. Accounts place her in the 3rd century. There is no reference to her in the authentic early Christian writings, nor in the original recension of Saint Jerome's martyrology. Her name can be traced to the 7th century, and veneration of her was common, especially in the East, from the 9th century. Because of doubts about the historicity of her legend, she was removed from the liturgical calendar of the Roman rite in 1969 in Pope Paul VI's motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis.
As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Barbara continues to be a popular saint in modern times, perhaps best known as the patron saint of artillerymen, military engineers, miners and others who work with explosives because of her old legend's association with lightning, and also of mathematicians. Many of the thirteen miracles in a 15th-century French version of her story turn on the security she offered that her devotees would not die without making confession and receiving extreme unction.