Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holy Ordinance

Legend has it that seventeen hundred and four years ago today, on December 4th 306, the Great Martyr Barbara was…well…martyred. Now every year on December 4th the “hollloween-like” festival of Eid il-Burbara is conducted to celebrate her martyrdom. Yea! Festival festival!

Saint Barbara is the patron saint of artillerymen, and her blessing is used to create holy ordinance.

She was tortured and abused. She was protected and abandoned. She engaged in anti-pagan remodeling, and was eventually beheaded by her own father. All in all a short unhappy blessed life.

He father was struck by lightning shortly after chopping off Barb’s head; hence the connection with artillery. Several Caribbean voodoo-like groups interpreted the story of Saint Barbara as a mistranslation of activities performed by the lightning god Shango. Shango sounds pretty tough though; I just can’t picture Shango letting himself get tortured for simply adding an extra window to a bath-house.

Unfortunately there are no historical records associated with any of it. So, on Valentine’s day 1969, Pope Paul VI had her removed from the official Roman Catholic calendar when he issued a motu proprio called "Mysterii Paschalis". This pretty much striped her of much of her official saintlyness.



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