SAINT OF THE DAY: Great martyr Barbara and Martyr Juliana, at Heliopolis in Syria, are commemorated today. The Holy Great Martyr Barbara lived and suffered during the reign of the emperor Maximian (305-311). Her pagan father Dioscorus, was a rich and illustrious man in the Syrian city of Heliopolis. After the death of his wife, he devoted himself to his only daughter. Seeing Barbara’s extraordinary beauty, Dioscorus decided to hide her from the eyes of strangers. Therefore, he built a tower for Barbara, where only her pagan teachers were allowed to see her. By day she was able to gaze upon the wooded hills, the swiftly flowing rivers, and the meadows covered with a mottled blanket of flowers; by night the harmonious and majestic vault of the heavens twinkled and provided a spectacle of inexpressible beauty. Soon the virgin began to ask herself questions about the First Cause and Creator of so harmonious and splendid a world. The desire to know the true God so consumed her soul that Barbara decided to devote all her life to this goal and to spend her life in virginity. The fame of her beauty spread throughout the city, and many sought her hand in marriage. But despite the entreaties of her father, she refused all of them. Barbara warned her father that his persistence might end tragically and separate them forever. Dioscorus decided that the temperament of his daughter had been affected by her life of seclusion. He, therefore, permitted her to leave the tower and gave her full freedom in her choice of friends and acquaintances. Thus, Barbara met young Christian maidens in the city, and they taught her about the Creator of the world, about the Trinity, and about the Divine Logos. Through the Providence of God, a priest arrived in Heliopolis from Alexandria disguised as a merchant. After instructing her in the mysteries of the Christian Faith, he baptized Barbara, then returned to his own country. When Dioscorus learned that his daughter became a Christian, he went into a rage, grabbed a sword, and was on the point of striking her with it. Dioscorus beat his daughter terribly, and then placed her under guard and tried to wear her down with hunger. Finally, he handed her over to the prefect of the city, named Martianus. They beat Saint Barbara fiercely. By night Saint Barbara prayed fervently to her Heavenly Bridegroom, and the Savior Himself appeared and healed her wounds. In the crowd where the martyr was tortured was the virtuous Christian woman Juliana, an inhabitant of Heliopolis. She began to denounce the torturers in a loud voice, and they seized her. Both martyrs were tortured for a long time. Then the steadfast confessors of Christ, Saints Barbara and Juliana, were beheaded. Dioscorus himself executed Saint Barbara. In the sixth century, the relics of the holy Great Martyr Barbara were transferred to Constantinople. Six hundred years later, they were transferred to Kyiv. They rest even now at Kyiv’s Saint Vladimir cathedral.
December 4, 2022
Great martyr Barbara and Martyr Juliana