Saint Barbara


Saint Barbara

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Icon nb 51

Size : 21 x 16 cm.

Linden board

Gilded halo. Egg tempera.

Born in Heliopolis (Phoenicia), Saint Barbara lived during the reign of Maximian. The daughter of a wealthy, pagan idolater named Dioscorus; she was raised in the belief of polytheism. Highly intelligent and extremely beautiful, St. Barbara was ordered to live her life imprisoned in the tower by her jealous father. Vowing to protect her from the outside world, he forbade her association with friends and St. Barbara only came in contact with teachers and servants who had been carefully instructed that she be taught how to worship the pagan gods. One day, as her father was leaving for a business trip, he ordered a bathhouse be built for Saint Barbara. He gave specific instructions for the design of the building, commanding the workers to install only two windows. Having learned about the teachings of Christ, St. Barbaraís belief in Christianity became firm. During her fatherís absence she instructed the workmen to install three windows to symbolize the Holy Trinity. When Dioscorus returned, he was enraged at the changes and infuriated with St. Barbara when she confessed that she was a Christian. He took her before the prefect of the province, who decreed she be tortured and beheaded, as was the punishment for Christians during this time. It was Dioscorus who rendered the death sentence to St. Barbara. On his way home, he was struck by lightning and killed instantly.

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