What to visit / Themed routes / Women of Ciutat Vella walk / Santa Eulàlia

Saint Eulalia

Co-patron saint of Barcelona (Barcelona, 290 AD–303 AD)

We now go back to Roman times, during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. As part of his quest to rid the world of Christianity, he embarked on the systematic persecution of those that professed this faith. Eulalia was a young girl who, according to different versions of the legend, may have been born in the Roman colony of Barcino or the neighbouring village of Sarrià. Either way, Eulalia’s parents wanted to keep her out of harm’s way and decided to move her to Sarrià, which stood outside the city walls. However, Eulalia wasn’t the sort of person to hide away. Determined as ever, she went to talk to the city’s Roman consul, Dacian, to persuade him to stop the Christian persecution. Not only did she fail to convince him; he had her thrown into a cell telling her that she would only be released if she renounced her faith. Young Eulalia had a strong Christian belief and categorically refused. Cruel Dacian condemned her to be tortured in 13 different ways, one for every year of her life (Eulalia was 13 at the time). And this is when her terrible suffering began. She had boiling oil poured over her. She was set on fire, whipped and thrown into a pit of quicklime. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she was placed inside a barrel full of broken glass and rolled down the street today named in her honour, the Baixada de Santa Eulàlia, which literally translates as Saint Eulalia’s descent. As her final punishment, she was crucified. Some people say that the cross was displayed in Pla de la Boqueria and others that it was in Plaça del Pedró, where a statue in her memory now stands.

Eulalia didn’t recant her faith and her remains were moved to Barcelona Cathedral, which is also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, where there is also a door named after her on the south-west façade of the cloisters.

Every year, on 12th February, we celebrate her feast day in Barcelona as part of our winter festival.

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