Persecutions: St. Barbara



  1. Students should be able to say the word “persecution” and know its meaning.
  2. Students should be able to name Barbara and tell her story.


Possible Lesson Plan:


  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Read the story of St. Barbara as follows:

In the early days of the Church, it was dangerous to be a Christian. Many of the Emperors of Rome did not like Christians because they would not worship the gods of Rome and the Emperor himself. Do you remember the stories of the three young men in the fire and Daniel in the lion’s den? (Review them here; there are pictures in the children’s Bible storybooks.) Just like these men who loved God, early Christians were burned and eaten by lions. The Romans killed Christians just for believing in Jesus. People who are killed for what they believe are called martyrs. St. Barbara was a martyr. Here is her story.

            King Dioscuros loved his daughter Barbara; she was his only child and his special joy. He wanted to keep her safe forever and built in the courtyard of his palace a tall tower. At the very top of the tower lived Barbara. There she was safe from sickness, dangers, and enemies. King Dioscuros worshipped the pagan gods of Rome and hated the new beliefs about a man named Jesus that were sweeping across the land. He was certain that, at the top of a tower ,Barbara would never hear of Jesus. Her loving father kept Barbara almost a prisoner; she could only see the countryside from the windows of her tower. She had teachers who told her of the world outside. She would look out her window and see the beauty of the world – the sky and the stars and the sun and the birds. Surely a God created this beautiful world.

To keep her from getting too lonely, King Dioscuros would allow young girls from noble families to visit Barbara in her tower. Barbara, with her curious and lively mind, asked her friends about the world. From them she heard of Jesus Christ. He was the Son of God, the Creator of the beautiful world Barbara saw from her windows.  Barbara decided secretly to become a Christian, too. Her father had built her a bathhouse with a beautiful pool. While her father was away, Barbara decided to make a third window for her pool for the Holy Trinity and had a cross cut in stone above the pool. Then she was baptized in her pool.

When her father returned, he saw the changes in the bathhouse. Barbara excitedly told him she had made the changes and had been baptized. King Dioscuros was furious! He drew his sword to kill his daughter! Barbara ran down the stairs of the tower and escaped to the mountaintop nearby. There she prayed to God for help.

The next day the soldiers of the king found Barbara. King Dioscuros locked her in a tiny room and came to her every day asking her to give up her belief in Jesus. But, Barbara would not deny Jesus. Finally, her father sent her to the palace of the governor. There she was given a simple choice: worship the gods of Rome or be killed. Barbara told the governor that she would rather die. She was beaten by the soldiers and thrown into jail with another Christian woman named Julia. There a bright light appeared to Barbara and told her not to be afraid; when she woke up, all of her bruises were gone. The governor beat Barbara again, and again she was healed. Finally, he ordered King Dioscuros to kill his own daughter. Dioscuros hated Christians so much, that he was willing to do even this and beheaded Barbara and Julia on the very mountaintop where she had been captured.


Add St. Barbara to your timeline.



  1. True/False Questions:

True                                                     False

            Barbara’s father was King Dioscuros.            Barbara’s father was King Paul.

            Barbara lived in a tower.                                 Barbara lived in a cave.

            Barbara was baptized in her own pool.           Barbara was baptized in the River Jordan.

            Barbara was beheaded by her father.             Barbara died of her beatings.


  1. Barbara is listed by the Church as a saint. What are her “saintly” attributes? What about her life? In what ways was her life saintly? What about her death? Had he done anything wrong to be killed as a martyr? Discuss the word “persecution” and review “martyr”. Say them a few times. What do they mean? Are Christians persecuted anywhere today?


  1. Make St. Barbara’s Tower: Take a paper towel tube. Add a cone at top for a roof. Decorate with windows, etc. Add a pipe-cleaner figure of Barbara looking out of the top window. Or, take the picture of St. Barbara, color it, and tape into the window.


  1. Close with Prayer: Lord, help me to love You as much as did Barbara.