Life of St. Barbara
Our Orthodox Faith is full of examples of individuals who have dedicated their lives to God. They endured many forms of torture because of their belief, yet when they were faced with the enormous pressure to deny Christ they stood firm and fearless even to death. Their stories are different, yet one thread that links them all is their Love for God.
One such heroine was St. Barbara, who lived in the city of Heliopolis in Anatolia around 290 A.D. She was the daughter of Dioscorus, a fanatic and very well known pagan of Nicomedia, and governor under the rule of Maximian. She was highly educated and of great beauty, and her father did everything possible to protect her from the loose morals of the time and of the ideological influences, including Christianity, that were attracting converts. However, secretly she was able to meet with some Christians who told her about Christ and his teachings. Convinced of the Truth concerning Jesus, she became a Christian whose love inspired all who heard of her.
Upon discovering of her faith in Christ, her father used all means of punishment to change her mind. When it became obvious that her love for Christ was stronger, she was surrendered to the authorities as a Christian. And after much torture it was concluded that she would never forsake Christ for her own life, a public execution, following a series of tortures was staged. Enraged with her devotion to Christ, Dioscorus beheaded his daughter with his own sword in 306 A.D. He was quickly punished for his actions, as a bolt of lightening struck him, killing him instantly. St. Barbara is the patron saint of artillerymen, firemen, and those engaged in hazardous occupations. She is also highly venerated in the Western Church. Her feast day is celebrated on December 4.