The Legend of Saint Barbara

The Patron Saint of Cannoneers and Ordnancemen

Saint Barbara was born in the year 218 A.D., in Nicomedia, a city of northern Asia Minor. Her father, Dioscorus, was a tyrannical Roman. During his absence from home, the girl embraced the teaching of Origen, the great Christian doctor. Dioscorus on his return ordered a new house built for Barbara, who was very beautiful, where she might entertain her suitors. To symbolize her faith, the maiden induced the builder to put three windows in her bedroom to typify the Trinity, instead of the two windows her father had ordered.

When Dioscorus discovered the third, most significant window and questioned her, Barbara admitted she had become a Christian. Not only did she insist upon clinging to the new religion, but she rejected the suitor whom her father had selected as her husband. She was tried on her father's indictment, found guilty and sentenced to death. Dioscorus called the prefect, "Give me the sword; she shall die at my own hands."

And so did Barbara die at the hands of her own father. Even as the sword fell, lightning fell upon this cruel father and consumed him as he stood.

Because lightning appeared to revenge the death of Barbara, she became the protectress against lightning and thunder. Ordnancemen, regardless of the flags under which they served through the centuries, have claimed Barbara as their patron saint.

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