The View from England: Miners still await a miracle – by Chris Hinde (Northern Miner – December 6, 2022)

Global mining news

Two years ago, in this column, I reminded readers of The Northern Miner that the mining industry has a patron saint, Barbara, whose feast day (Dec. 4) is observed by miners and tunnellers around the world, especially in continental Europe.

You might recall that Saint Barbara was an early Christian martyr, with accounts placing her in third century Nicomedia (in present-day Turkey) or in Heliopolis (present-day Lebanon). Although Barbara was declared a saint in 1568 by Pope Pius V, doubts about the authenticity of her legend (there is no reference to Barbara in early Christian writings) led to her removal from the General Roman Calendar in the 1969 revision, although not from the Catholic Church’s list of saints.

According to legend, Barbara was the beautiful daughter of a rich pagan named Dioscorus, who kept her locked in a tower to preserve her from the outside world. Having secretly become a Christian, she escaped. The legends diverge at this point, although the most persuasive, at least for mining engineers, is that she hid in a silver mine.

Unfortunately, Barbara was beheaded by her father when she emerged. (Incidentally, Dec. 4 is also memorable as being the date, in 1154, when Adrian IV became the only Englishmen to be elected Pope.)

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