Eulalia of Barcelona

Saint Eulalia (Aulaire, Aulazia, Olalla, Eulària) (c. 290–February 12, 303), co-patron saint of Barcelona, was a 13-year-old Roman Christian virgin who was martyred in Barcelona during the persecution of Christians in the reign of emperor Diocletian (although the Sequence of Saint Eulalia mentions the "pagan king" Maximian), near the end of the ban on Christianity. There is some dispute as to whether she is the same person as Saint Eulalia of Mérida, whose story is similar.[1]

Saint Eulalia of Barcelona
Barcelona Cathedral Interior - Crypt of Santa Eulalia.jpg
Tomb of Saint Eulalia in the crypt of Barcelona Cathedral
Bornc. 290
Barcelona, Hispania (Spain)
DiedFebruary 12, 303 (aged 13)
Barcelona, Hispania
Venerated inRoman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy
Major shrineCathedral of Santa Eulàlia, Barcelona
FeastFebruary 12 (August 22 in the Orthodox Church)
AttributesX-shaped cross, stake, and dove
PatronageBarcelona, Spain; sailors; against drought [1]


Painting of Eulalia with the X-shaped "cross saltire" in Barcelona Cathedral
Relief of Eulalia in Barcelona Cathedral

The daughter of a noble family, Eulalia lived near the city of Barcelona. During the persecutions under Diocletian, governor Dacian arrived in the city intent on enforcing the decrees. Soon afterwards, Eulalia entered the city and confronted the governor for his merciless persecution of Christians. Unable to dismiss her eloquent appeals, Dacian had her stripped and flagellated, which he followed with torture by multiple implements until she would deny her beliefs or die. Her wounds were burned with torches, but the flames blew back against her tormentors. She prayed that God would take her to Heaven, then died.[2]

A dove is supposed to have flown forth from her mouth following her death, then a sudden snowstorm covered her body like a garment.[2]

It is traditionally believed that her tortures culminated in her crucifixion on an X-shaped cross, and she is depicted with this cross as the instrument of her martyrdom. However, it has been posited that she was instead publicly tortured on an X frame and left there after she died, artistic depictions of her ordeal leading to the later belief that she was crucified.[3]

Stylized X-shaped Cross of Saint Eulalia in L'Hospitalet


There are a number of similarities with the description of the martyrdom of Eulalia of Mérida.

Her body was originally interred in the church of Santa Maria de les Arenes (St. Mary of the Sands; now Santa Maria del Mar, St. Mary of the Sea). It was hidden in 713 during the Moorish invasion, and only recovered in 878. In 1339, it was relocated to an alabaster sarcophagus in the crypt of the newly built Cathedral of Santa Eulalia.[4] The festival of Saint Eulalia is held in Barcelona for a week around her feast day on February 12.[5]

Eulalia is commemorated with statues and street names throughout Barcelona.[6] Baixada de Santa Eulàlia "Saint Eulalia's descent") reflects a tradition that Eulalia was placed in a barrel with shards of glass and rolled down a street.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Haliczer, Stephen (2002). Between exaltation and infamy: Female mystics in the Golden Age of Spain. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 236. ISBN 0-19-514863-0.
  2. ^ a b "Virginmartyr Eulalia of Barcelona", Orthodox Church in America
  3. ^ Santa Eulalia de Barcelona (in Spanish)
  4. ^ Santa Maria del Mar Archived 2006-02-05 at the Wayback Machine from The New York Times travel guide.
  5. ^ Festes de Santa Eulàlia from Barcelona municipal website (in Catalan)
  6. ^ a b Vázquez Montalbán, Manuel (1992). Barcelonas. London: Verso. p. 42. ISBN 0-86091-353-8.

External linksEdit