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Barbara, St

Barbara, St a supposed virgin-martyr, whose cult became very popular in the later Middle Ages. According to the Golden Legend she was shut up in a tower by her father, and while he was away became a Christian; she ordered a third window to be made in the building in honour of the Holy Trinity. At her father's instigation she was tried and condemned to death for her Christianity; by some accounts, her father was her executioner. On her death, he was struck by lightning and died.

The usual emblem for Barbara is a tower, although she may also be shown with a sword as the instrument of her execution. She is the patron of those in danger of sudden death. She is also taken as one of the Fourteen of Chancery. Her feast day (suppressed in the Roman calendar of 1969) was formerly 4 December.

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