Troparion (Tone 8)
St. Barbara is Celebrated
on December 4th
Kontakion of Great Martyr Barbara Tone 4
One such heroine, named Barbara, lived in the city of Heliopolis in the beginning of the third century. She was a lovely and intelligent girl and the daughter of Dioscorus, who was a wealthy nobleman and a pagan. To protect his young daughter, Dioscorus built a magnificent tower for her to live in to keep her safe. He didn't care how much he spent on her he gave her the best of food, clothing, servants and teachers, but forbade her to have friends and even speak to anyone without his permission. Barbara was a bright and intelligent girl and who was obedient to her father's wishes and remained in the tower, without complaint, even during his frequent business trips.
Dioscorus's intentions were simple - he wanted to surround his daughter with the greatest comforts and a lot of attendants focused on teaching her how to worship the pagan gods. He felt that by keeping her away from the world, she was sure to grow up and be a pagan worshipper.
Yet, his plan failed. Although she had no 'human' teacher to bring her to the knowledge of God's existence, Barbara's mind, heart and soul were opened by the grace of God to feel His presence. 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 for God inspired all who her of heard.
Her father, became suspicious that his daughter, despite his extreme efforts, had become a Christian. While angry, he delivered her to Marcian, the Roman prefect, to torture her until she denied Christ. Young Barbara was stripped and struck with whips and clubs until she was standing in a pool of her own blood. To increase the pain, the soldiers rubbed vinegar into her wounds. Through all this, Barbara stood firm in her faith and would not deny Christ.
She was then thrown into prison and ordered to return the following day. While in her cell Barbara knelt in prayer to ask God to continue to grant her the strength that she needed to remain faithful, and as she prayed her heart was filled with heavenly joy and her wounds were completely healed. When she was brought in front of Marcian the following day he was amazed to see that her wounds had healed and demanded her to deny Christ. Her refusal angered the prefect who ordered her body to be hung on a stake and ripped with iron claws, they burned her wounds with hot irons and beat her head with spiked clubs. Yet through it all, Barbara found consolation in prayer. Frustrated at not being able to break Barbara's faith he ordered her to be taken out of the city and killed.
Dioscorus, who watched his daughter being tortured, was so angry he offered to execute Barbara himself and led his daughter out of the city and killed her with his own sword. He was quickly punished for his actions he was hit with a bolt of lightning - killing him instantly.
"Saint Barbara is an inspiration to me. She is my patron saint and I look up to her and ask her to always have intercession for my soul. She makes me think to myself...'I should not deny Christ.' Is our everyday actions reveling Christ inside of us? One thing that I learned from her is that being a witness to other people can help lead them to Christ. Through her intercessions O Lord, Have mercy upon us and save us. Amen."
St. George Houston, TX