Santa Eulàlia of Barcelona

Santa Eulàlia of Barcelona


Santa Eulàlia is patron of Barcelona cathedral and co-patron saint of the city of Barcelona.

She is also patron saint of sailors and is invoked against miscarriages, drought, rain, and to protect mariners and ensure safe sailing.

The story of Barcelona's child virgin saint Saint Eulàlia (ca. 290-303) is a gruesome tale.

Legend has it that she was a thirteen-year-old Christian girl, who lived in a farmhouse - called 'un mas' in Catalan - in what is now the upscale district of Sarrià in the upper part of Barcelona.

Back then Sarrià was in the countryside outside the medieval walled city of Barcelona.

Eulalia became a martyr in Barcelona during the persecution of Christians during the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian.

She protested to the Roman governor Dacianus against the persecution of Christians, which resulted in her arrest and torture for refusing to recant her Christian faith.

The Romans subjected her to not just one form of torture, but thirteen different and gruesome tortures. The most infamous was putting her naked in a barrel filled with glass and embedded knives and rolling it down sloping streets.
The streets where she was subjected to this barbarian torture are in Barcelona's gothic area and are Carrer de Sant Sever and the Baixada de Santa Eulalia which means 'Saint Eulalia's descent.'

Other cruel tortures that Eulalia is said to have been subjected to including cutting off her breasts, crucifying her on an X-shaped cross 'crux decussata' and other barbaric deeds until her decapitation. Legend has it that when she lost her head, a dove flew out from her neck.

Eulàlia is commemorated with many statues and street names throughout Barcelona. She represents justice, solidarity and youth. 

Eulalia died on 12th February in the year 303. This date is now celebrated every year as Saint Eulàlia’s day. Eulalia's body was first interred in a church originally called 'Santa Maria de les Arenes' - St. Mary of the Sands. It was located on the present site of the gothic basilica Santa Maria del Mar - St. Mary of the Sea church - in the Ribera/Born area of Barcelona.

Eulalia's remains were conceald in 713 during the Moorish invasion and only recovered again in 874.

On 23rd November 874 her remains were moved to Barcelona's cathedral - Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia - by Bishop Frodoinus.

And in 1339 the remains were moved again, this time to the crypt of Barcelona Cathedral, where they have remaind to this day.

The crypt for Santa Eulàlia's remains was designed by 'maestro de obras' Jaime Fabre. Lupo di Francesco created the alabaster sarcophagus.

According to legend, during the procession to move the bones of Santa Eulalia to their final resting place, an angel appeared when the procession reached the Plaça de l'Àngel - it confronted one of the clergymen, who confessed to having stolen a toe one from the skeleton of Santa Eulalia.

In the area where Eulalia came from which at the time was outside the city of Barcelona, there were many geese which is  a gaggle of thirteen white geese, one goose for each year of Eulalia's short life, is kept in the cloister of Barcelona cathedral in the 'Well of the Geese' - 'Fuente de las Ocas.' 

Visit the official Santa Eulalia website (in Catalan and Spanish) for more information about Santa Eulalia events.

Festival Santa Eulalia Barcelona

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