Saturday, June 4, 2016

Another Saint brought to you by the Romans

In my last post I mentioned that I've been surprised to see the number of Christians killed by the Romans who went on to become saints:
I realize that's just a small sample size of only three, but considering we've only been in Paris, Toulouse and Barcelona to this point, I think it's significant.

And now I bring you one more: St. Eulalia in Barcelona.

Eulalia was a 13-year-old Christian girl who refused to denounce her religion. As we've seen elsewhere, this annoyed the Romans and because 13-year-girls are so utterly threatening to empires, the emperor took action and decreed that she should suffer and be killed.

What we heard about her and what I've read is ever so slightly different.

We heard she was burned at the stake, but then snow fell putting out the fire. Then she was placed in a barrel with broken glass and knives and rolled down a hill. She popped out of the barrel completely unscathed. Frustrated at their lack of success at killing her, the Romans then just decapitated her and called it a day.

What I read is slightly more troubling. She was to be tortured in 13 different way because, of course, she was 13 years old. The torture included the barrel roll, being crucified on an x-shaped cross (Does the fact it's an X shape mean something? I have no idea.), and having her breasts cut off. Details on my quick web searching are slim on the other tortures. 

But in both versions, ultimately poor Eulalia was indeed decapitated. A dove reportedly flew out of her neck when the deed was done. But to martyrdom and sainthood she went. And now Barcelona's cathedral is named after her: Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia

Her rather fancy crypt can be found within the cathedral.

The cathedral is quite fabulous, inside and out. 

The organ. Oh how I wish all these churches would have someone
play their organs during the day for visitors.

The choir stalls - right in the middle of the entire church - carved with the coats-of-arms of the knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

And you can take an elevator up to the roof giving some great views of Barcelona, and of the spires of the cathedral.

Eamon is not a giant - it's just the wide angle lens.
But I kind of love how he looks so huge with his little boy face.

But what really makes the cathedral stand out in honour of St. Eulalia are the 13 live geese that are kept in the cloisters. We doubted that live geese would be living within the cathedral, but we went in search of them and we found them enjoying the warm Barcelona sun.

And I believe that this may actually be the final post on saints created by the Romans. But I can't help but wonder how different the world would look today if the Romans had just left the Christians alone rather than creating so many Christian martyrs. 

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