Barbara was born in the mid third century in Heliopolis, Phoenicia to her rich pagan father Dioscorus. Barbara was really beautiful and her father, in order to preserve her beauty and protect her from the world, locked her up in a very high tower. A case very similar to the fictional story Rapunzel. He only allowed her pagan teachers to see her.
While there, Barbara had a lot the time in the world to really look at nature and meditate on its beauty. In no time, she understood that the creator of heaven and earth was splendid indeed. She understood that God was nothing like the lifeless dolls which her father worshiped. He was indeed the maker of all things. She gradually came to meditate on the creator, and grew to love him. Her heart burned so fiercely that she desired only to live for him and dedicate her virginity to him.
As a result of her extreme beauty, many men got to hear about her, and suitors from far and near came to seek her hand in marriage. Her father too kept mounting pressure on her to accept one of these suitors. Barbara declined them all and when she could no longer bear the pressure from her father, she asked him to stop pressurizing her into marriage as that could only bring a strain on their relationship.
As a result, Dioscorus felt she probably was not exposed enough. He allowed her go into the world and experience freedom. She however, was more interested about God and went to meet with some Christian maidens who taught her about Christ. A priest from Alexandra, disguised as a merchant, came into the city. He taught Barbara about Christ and baptized her.
Dioscorus at some point, decided to build a private bath house for Barbara. He had already given the specifications to the architect on the structure he wants. He wanted two windows built in the bath house. Barbara, filled with love for the trinity, convinced them to build three windows instead so that after the bath house was completed, a trinity of light was created in the bath house.
The bath house was filled with God’s divine presence. This was manifest in the series of miracles and healings that occurred in that bath house.
When Dioscorus returned, Barbara, informed him that she was now a Christian and would no longer worship his idols. Dioscorus was enraged. He drew his sword and tried to strike her but she ran. Dioscorus ran after her. And after a long chase, he found her. He flogged her, locked her up and starved her. He then took her to Martianus, the prefect of the city.
Together, they beat and tortured her. Barbara prayed to God to heal her as she was in so much pain. And God answered her. He healed her wounds. This only made the duo angry. They tortured her even more, trying hard to convince her to denounce her faith in Christ.
Barbara refused and stood her ground. She loved God and would never denounce Him. A lady, Juliana saw all that was going on and was touched by Barbara’s faith in God. She too wanted to suffer like this for Christ. She screamed at Martianus, denouncing his evil acts. This made Martianus angry, and he seized her too. And alongside Barbara, she too suffered for Christ.
The torturers made Barbara and Juliana walk through the streets naked. They were mocked at jeered at. Barbara prayed and God sent an angel who covered their nakedness with beautiful robes.
Finally, the torturers beheaded Barbara and Juliana. Diosorus himself beheaded his daughter Barbara. Not long after, lightning struck Dioscorus and Martianus and they died.
St. Barbara’s feast day is commemorated on the 4th of December. She is often invoked against lightening and fire.