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"Keepers of the Dragon"©™
The Legend of Santa Barbara -
Patron Saint of Cannoneers and Ordnance Men
Santa Barbara, virgin and martyr, is said to have
lived at the close of the third and beginning of the fourth century of the
Christian era. in the Roman, the Greek, and the Russian calendars her
feast day is celebrated on 4 December, the presumed anniversary of her
Born the daughter of the wealthy
grew to maidenhood so incomparably beautiful that her father shut her up
in a high tower for safekeeping. Guarded
by her virtue even more than by her tower, she studied deeply in
philosophy until as she grew to be as surpassing in learning and character
as she was in loveliness. Her
studies and thoughts led her to see the folly of heathenism and she
secretly became a Christian.
Dioscorus, discovering that his daughter was a
Christian, denounced her to the governor of the province, Marcian or
Martianus. After cruel tortures she was condemned to be beheaded, and her
inhuman father himself acted as her executioner. For this Dioscorus was
struck by lightning and wholly consumed.
Ever since this exemplary vengeance, Santa Barbara has been
generally considered as the protectress against thunder, lightning and
explosive flame of all kinds, becoming thus by an easy analogy- when
gunpowder appeared-the patron saint of cannoneers and ordnance men.
the cannoneers of Lillie, in France,
commissioned under royal letters patent in 1417 as the “confreres
de Sainte Barbe,” were among the first to recognize her as a patroness
and guardian. Their example
was speedily followed through France, Italy, Germany, and other European
A picture of Santa Barbara hangs in the office of
the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Ordnance...
August 25, 2014
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