St Barbaras Day

Although I didn't post anything on the Forum on 4 Dec, a slightly belated Happy St Barbara's Day. For those of you that don't know, here's a bit of History about our Patron Saint.

Barbara was the daughter of a rich pagan named Dioscorus. She was carefully guarded by her father who kept her shut up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world. Having secretly become a Christian, she rejected an offer of marriage that she received through him. Before going on a journey, he commanded that a private bath-house be erected for her use near her dwelling, and during his absence Barbara had three windows put in it, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, instead of the two originally intended. When her father returned, she acknowledged herself to be a Christian; upon this he drew his sword to kill her, but her prayers created an opening in the tower wall and she was miraculously transported to a mountain gorge, where two shepherds watched their flocks. Dioscorus, in pursuit of his daughter, was rebuffed by the first shepherd, but the second betrayed her and was turned to stone and his flock changed to locusts. Dragged before the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who had her cruelly tortured, Barbara held true to her faith. During the night, the dark prison was bathed in light and new miracles occurred. Every morning her wounds were healed. Torches that were to be used to burn her went out as soon as they came near her. Finally she was condemned to death by beheading. The father himself carried out the death-sentence, but in punishment for this he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body consumed. Barbara was buried by a Christian, Valentinus, and her tomb became the site of miracles.

She 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.
Cut and paste from Wikipedia - the only knowledge source!

St Barbara is also the patron saint of the RN's now defunct Gunnery branch and, nowadays, the Above Water Warfare specialisation, officers of which are entitled to join the St Barbara Association. The church at HMS Excellent on Whale Island in Portsmouth, long time alma mater of the RN Gunnery branch, is even dedicated to St Barbara. During WW II, HMS St Barbara was the name given to the RN's gunnery range at Bognor Regis.
Out of interest, there is an excellent but plain stained glass window dedicated to St Barbara at St Mary,s in the market in Stockport. Also a superb painting of her can be found at St Laurences church in Ludlow.

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