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Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Friday, February 12, 2010

St. Eulalia of Barcelona - 12th February 2010


We don't have historical documentation on Eulalia's life, but we do have the tradition and the story that has arrived to us.
According to this tradition, the Saint was the daughter of a wealthy family from the suburbs of Barcelona (Spain), born towards the end of the Third Century. The legend says that she was a child prodigy. She was Christian, and she had a pleasant infancy.

When she was around 12 to 13 years old, the emperor of Rome sent a judge to persecute the Christians in Barcelona. At that time the Christian faith was growing quickly in the Empire, and the Emperors Diocletian and Maximilian, sent to the provinces of Hispania (Roman name for Spain) the judge Dacian, who had the reputation to be extremely cruel. Already in Barcelona, he started one of the worst persecutions ever directed against the small Christian community established there.

Dacian organized public offerings to the pagan Gods and Goddesses.
The Christians were obligated to attend these ceremonies and worship the pagan Gods. The news of this persecution arrived to the suburbs where Eulalia was living. During this time she was praying and she started holding a secret project.

One day before dawn, while everybody was still sleeping in the house, Eulalia left her home and went walking to Barcelona.

Is well known that Eulalia means in Greek the one who speaks well.
That day she honored her name.

When she got into the city, she went to the forum (the center of the town) without any shade of fear. The Court of Dacian was meeting there. Dacian himself was sitting in the middle of the people. Eulalia went across the soldiers and stood in front of the judge. She said to him with a loud voice: "You, how come that you are sitting here, full of proud, to judge the Christians? Don't you fear God, the one who is above the Emperors, the one who wants the people to worship Him, and only Him? Now you have the power, but your power is useless at God's eyes".

Dacian, astonished at that girl who had spoke to him with such courage, told her: “Who are you, girl without fear? All these affirmations you say are against the imperial law”. She answered: “I am Eulalia, servant of my Lord Jesus Christ. I trust him and that is why I came here without fear to contest your conduct, which is the one of an ignorant”.

After hearing Eulalia, Dacian ordered the soldiers to take her. In jail she was tortured and they tried to make her reject her faith in Jesus. For a while they didn't want to harm her because she was from a noble family, but when they saw that after those tortures she was even stronger, they decided to kill her. She said: “The tortures you are inflicting me make me greater and the wounds don't hurt, because God is at my side. He will judge the abuses of authority you are responsible for”.

Therefore Dacian ordered the men to burn the young Eulalia. The· legend says that the flames were not harming her body. On the contrary they burnt some of the soldiers, and then they extinguished. They lighted it again and finally the fire touched her flesh, and when Eulalia died she opened her mouth and her soul, appearing as a white dove, came out from her lips and flew to the sky.

Dacian was still full of anger, and he ordered the soldiers to hang the body of Eulalia in a cross. They did so, thinking that in a few days scavenger birds would come and eat her body. But suddenly, even tough the weather is always warm in the area, a heavy snowstorm fell down and covered the city and the body of the Saint with a natural white sheet. The soldiers left the place at night. Some friends and relatives of Eulalia came to the place, took her body and buried her.
We don't know the place of the first burial, but it had to be in one of the cemeteries of the city, close to the old walls.

For some centuries, the citizens of Barcelona worshiped her as their Patron Saint in the unknown spot of her burial. However, we know that in the eighth century they hid what they said that were the remains of Eulalia, when the moors were conquering the city. In the year 877 the Bishop Frodoi found the remains of the Saint and they where moved to the cathedral. In July 10, 1339, the remains of Eulalia were finally moved to the new cathedral of Barcelona, the one that is there nowadays. The remains were placed in a marble grave done by an Italian artist from Pisa. You still can visit this tomb in the crypt of the cathedral, which is called, of course, The Crypt of Saint Eulalia.

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