Icon of St. Barbara (Tver, 15th c.) – S349


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Church Feast Day 1



Egg Tempera


Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia




15th c.


This holy maiden was the daughter of an eminent and wealthy pagan named Dioscorus in Heliopolis, Egypt.  Dioscorus shut St. Barbara up in a tower with servants and every comfort, including a lavish bath chamber with two windows.  Looking through them, St. Barbara, struck by the beauty and wonder of creation, came to belief in One God, later leaving the tower to be instructed in the Christian faith.  She then had a third window cut in the tower to honor the Trinity, and inscribed a cross on the wall.

When her father returned to visit her, Dioscorus questioned his daughter about the cross.  When he heard that she was a Christian, he ran after her to kill her himself, but a cliff opened up to save her.  When she later reappeared, Dioscorus handed her over to the governor who had her stripped, beaten, mocked, mutilated, and finally her own father cut off her head.  Swift retribution came upon both the father and the governor that very day because of their sins when the house they were staying in was struck by lightning, killing them both.  This great miracle-worker, St. Barbara, beloved of God, went to her Maker and Deliverer Jesus Christ in a.d. 306.