Barbara vs. Thomas Ken

It’s here, it’s here! No, not the final battle of the First Round — though that’s an important milestone in Lent Madness 2015. But  the matchup everyone’s been talking about (or at least Tim and Scott) since the inception of the bracket: Barbie vs. Ken! The 3rd century saint vs. the 17th century English bishop and hymn writer. The winner will face Egeria and the matchups for the Saintly Sixteen will be complete. View the complete (and updated daily) bracket here.

Yesterday, South African missionary and martyr Bernard Mizecki was able to accomplish something that a dragon could not: vanquish Margaret of Antioch. With a 57% to 43% margin of victory, Bernard advances to the Saintly Sixteeen where he will square off against Jackson Kemper.

Enjoy this last matchup of the Round of 32 and gird your loins for tomorrow’s start of the Saintly Sixteen as Brendan the Navigator faces Thecla.


Barbara is one of the fourteen Auxiliary Saints. Her story is difficult to reconstruct due to inconsistencies and obvious embellishments. She maintains her place on the Roman Catholic and Anglican lists of saints.

Barbara was born in the third century in either Heliopolis in Syria (or possibly in modern-day Egypt) or Nicomedia in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) to a wealthy pagan family. After the death of Barbara’s mother, her father was worried for her safety so he built a large tower to protect her and her virginity.

A traveling physician introduced Barbara to Christianity during one of her father’s extended absences. She believed the message and was baptized. While her father was away, she hired workmen to construct a third window in her tower to represent the Trinity. She also used her finger to etch a cross upon the wall. Upon her father’s return, Barbara explained the significance of the windows and told him of her newfound faith. Her father (in a rage) intended to give her over to the authorities, but she was miraculously whisked away to a mountain gorge. Her father pursued her and found a shepherd who refused to reveal her whereabouts. He eventually encountered another shepherd who betrayed her hiding place.

Her abuse at the hands of her father and the authorities was marked by many miraculous happenings. She was tortured mercilessly but every night her wounds healed while she was in her cell. The torches that were intended to burn her were miraculously extinguished before they could touch her flesh. At last she was dragged out naked to be paraded around the town with another martyr, Juliana. An angel was sent to cover their nakedness.

She was finally condemned to be beheaded. Her father requested that he be the one to strike the blow. On his way home after committing the dastardly deed, he was struck dead by a bolt of lightning. Because Barbara is associated with lightning, she has become the patron saint of firefighters, soldiers, and gunsmiths.

Collect for Barbara
Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Saint Barbara triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death: Grant us, who now remember her in thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world, that we may receive with her the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

David Creech

Thomas KenNPG D15194,Thomas Ken,by; after George Vertue; F. Scheffer

Born in 1637 and ordained in 1661, Thomas Ken was a bishop, hymn writer, author, royal chaplain to Charles II of England, and one of seven bishops who (in 1688) opposed James II’s Declaration of Indulgence, which was designed to promote Roman Catholicism.

In 1663 Ken became rector of Little Easton, Essex, then rector of East Woodhay, Hampshire, and presbyter of Winchester in 1669. He published A Manual of Prayers for use at Winchester College in 1674.

Perhaps no story sums up the moxie of Thomas Ken as Royal Chaplain more than an exchange he had with King Charles II. Ken was asked by the king to cover up an indelicate matter. Charles requested that his consort (Nell Gwyn) be allowed to lodge with the chaplain so as to cover the king’s indiscretions. Rather than assent, Ken replied that it was “not suitable that the Royal Chaplain should double as the Royal Pimp.” King Charles admired Ken’s forthrightness. Later, when the See of Bath and Wells came open, Charles insisted Ken be elevated to the episcopal throne, saying, “None shall have it but that little man who refused lodging to poor Nellie!”

Ken was a famed preacher and even royalty begged for seats when he was preaching. His force of character and faith caused him great difficulty when King James II ascended the throne. He was one of several bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London for refusing to sign the Declaration of Indulgence. He was later acquitted.

Despite this, Ken remained loyal to James through the so-called Glorious Revolution of William of Orange and his consort Mary. William and Mary demanded oaths of allegiance from all bishops. Thomas Ken and others (known as the Non-Jurors — the older meaning of “juror” is “one who takes an oath,” hence “perjurer” as “one who swears falsely”) refused to take the oath. This loyalty cost Ken his episcopacy. He was deprived of his See in 1691 and spent the subsequent twenty years of his life in retirement. Ken’s legacy remains strong and is given voice throughout churches all over the world when they sing “Praise God from whom all blessings flow,” which Ken wrote as a setting for the Doxology.

Collect for Thomas Ken
Almighty God, you gave your servant Thomas Ken grace and courage to bear witness to the truth before rulers and kings: Give us strength also that, following his example, we may constantly defend what is right, boldly reprove what is evil, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Robert Hendrickson


Barbara vs. Thomas Ken

  • Thomas Ken (67%, 3,922 Votes)
  • Barbara (33%, 1,932 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,854

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238 Comments to "Barbara vs. Thomas Ken"

  1. Louis Bannister's Gravatar Louis Bannister
    March 11, 2015 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    I’d never thought about it before, but what a thrill it was to be today’s first vote!

    Thanks to the SEC for inspiring all of us to learn more about these Holy Women and Men, thus deepening our knowledge and devotion in a way that is meaningful and fun.

    • Warner's Gravatar Warner
      March 11, 2015 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Influenced by the daily witness of my firefighter son and those who’ve preceded him as well as the love that I have for my late cousin Barbara, I did vote for her…..mainly because of her witness and her sacrifice.

    • Sue DB's Gravatar Sue DB
      March 11, 2015 - 5:20 pm | Permalink

      As one who lives near Ft.Sill,Ok which happens to be the home of the U.S. Army Field Artillery whose patron saint is St Barbara,,, there is no other way to vote except for St Barbara. Just wish I could vote more tan once

    • Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
      March 11, 2015 - 8:54 pm | Permalink

      A loyal man, that Ken. Loyal to God, to what was right, and to his king.

  2. March 11, 2015 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    Ken today. Sorry, Barbie, but your story is too fantastical for me. Plus, how could I deny the one who refused to be a pimp for a king?

    • Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
      March 11, 2015 - 8:20 am | Permalink

      Yes, never thought I would pick Ken over Barbie; she had much more fun shoes. Anyone who stood against James II, however, is one for me while Barbara’s story is another one of those fantastical early Christian martyr stories that feel mythological.

      • Joanne's Gravatar Joanne
        March 11, 2015 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

        I know! And she looked so cool in her pink Barbie car! However, I had to pay homage to our organist and fairly new pipe organ. The Doxology never sounded better.

        • Vonelle Kostelny-Vogts's Gravatar Vonelle Kostelny-Vogts
          March 11, 2015 - 5:07 pm | Permalink

          The Doxology decided my vote, too.

        • Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
          March 11, 2015 - 11:32 pm | Permalink

          Wow! It’s Barbie’s Malibu Dream Tower!

    • March 11, 2015 - 9:57 am | Permalink

      Yes, the “royal pimp” line sealed it for me, too.

      • teopa's Gravatar teopa
        March 11, 2015 - 3:07 pm | Permalink

        You can’t go wrong when you write the right song! Gotta admire a man with courage a la Becket.

    • Linda McGee's Gravatar Linda McGee
      March 11, 2015 - 3:29 pm | Permalink

      That’s what changed my mind. I was all set to vote for Barbara, but when I read the Thomas refused to be the “royal pimp”, I changed my mind. You rock, Thomas!

    • Pam Sten's Gravatar Pam Sten
      March 11, 2015 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you, Paul! Also such a truth-teller… and then there’s the music! Wonder if Ken I’s vestments were more ornate than Ken II’s modern clothes!

      • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
        March 11, 2015 - 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Let’s get this straight: Louis Bourgeois wrote the music for the doxology; Ken wrote the words as a metrical version of the Gloria Patri (for use with metrical psalms).

        • Elinor Cowell's Gravatar Elinor Cowell
          March 11, 2015 - 11:56 pm | Permalink

          Well, actually, William, my Episcopal Hymnal says Thomas Ken did write the words to vs. 3 of Hymn 380 (the doxology.) The first two verses were written by Isaac Watts paraphrasing Psalm 117. The tune melody is Old 100th and the harmony was “after” Louis Bourgeois.

    • Jennifer Franz's Gravatar Jennifer Franz
      March 11, 2015 - 10:02 pm | Permalink

      I have to agree. Some of the stories of the early saints are so amazing as to be really hard to believe. Someone who refuses to be “the Royal Pimp,” however … my kind of man! Add good music to that and what’s not to love?

  3. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    March 11, 2015 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Thomas’s collect was the swaying point for me. I pray daily to be as strong in my convictions as Thomas was.

  4. Tom Van Brunt's Gravatar Tom Van Brunt
    March 11, 2015 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    THis is a no-brainer. Bishop Ken’s response to the King is worthy of the dowager Duchess of Grantham.

    • Sharon Boivin's Gravatar Sharon Boivin
      March 11, 2015 - 9:22 am | Permalink


    • Linda Maloney's Gravatar Linda Maloney
      March 11, 2015 - 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Amen to that! Thomas Ken has a special place in my heart, and I love to sing his Compline hymn (all of it, not just the doxology).

  5. Jane C's Gravatar Jane C
    March 11, 2015 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    How can you not love a third-century woman with the gumption to direct a renovation project–when mean dad was out of town! Gutsy gal. So many of these female saints had horrendous upbringings and unkind parents, and for that they deserve our vote and admiration. A king’s would-be pimp? Child’s play.

    • Lea's Gravatar Lea
      March 11, 2015 - 9:51 am | Permalink

      I voted for Barbara as well, even though there are some pretty strange stories attached to her. The grains of truth that I focused on were her steadfastness in her faith regardless of what happened to her. Not that refusing the king’s request to become his pimp isn’t something to be admired, but for today, Barbara gets my vote.

    • Melanie Bowley's Gravatar Melanie Bowley
      March 11, 2015 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Lea and Jane for focusing on the true pain that Barbara endured-a cruel and unloving father and her steadfast faith. Why do so many of these early women saints have to have fantastical stories? Isn’t it enough that her own father killed her!! I vote for Barbie (though Ken is pretty cool, too)

      • Gail Renborg's Gravatar Gail Renborg
        March 11, 2015 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I agree. I think when you are murdered by your own Father, your life does not need a lot of embellishing for maximum effect. I think pretty much any woman who lived before the 18th Century, and was brave enough to embrace Christianity knowing full good and well what was probably going to be the upshot, gets my vote. And as for Ken, refusing to shelter Nellie, left her precisely where?

        • Karen's Gravatar Karen
          March 11, 2015 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

          I am in total agreement. After reading Barbie’s bio and reflecting on what she went through (even if only a small fraction is true) Ken’s seemed somewhat lackluster. Barbie definitely gets my vote, but I must say that it took some chutzpah for Ken to refuse to pimp for the king!

        • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
          March 12, 2015 - 3:50 pm | Permalink

          No doubt Charles found another shelter for “poor Nellie”. She was the King’s mistress, after all, not some homeless beggar.

    • Babzee's Gravatar Babzee
      March 11, 2015 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

      well said and who could vote against anyone named Barbara

      • Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
        March 12, 2015 - 5:59 am | Permalink

        I think it’s not so much as voting against Barbara as voting for Ken.

    • Jane M-E's Gravatar Jane M-E
      March 11, 2015 - 6:55 pm | Permalink

      I saw agree with you! Thanks for voting for Barbara-

      • Jane M-E's Gravatar Jane M-E
        March 11, 2015 - 6:55 pm | Permalink

        typo- meant to type SO

  6. Steve Carlson's Gravatar Steve Carlson
    March 11, 2015 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Far be it from me to suggest that the SEC has been putting its fingers on the scales, by editing their saintly summaries to favor more modern saints over ancient ones — but Ken better than Barbie? Really?

    • Robert's Gravatar Robert
      March 11, 2015 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Barbara, to me, is far more inspirational than Ken will ever be – I don’t see a comparison at all. Mr. Ken did stand up for his beliefs and stood up to a king, but lots of others have done that. Not too many would be killed for their faith by their own father. Besides, I’m of Irish heritage and, it being this close to St. Patrick’s day, couldn’t bring myself to vote for an Englishman. : )

    • Christi Hill's Gravatar Christi Hill
      March 11, 2015 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I also have questioned the position of the SEC thumb in some of these mini-bios. I decided that the stories of the female saints are a reflection of the position and value, or lack thereof, women in the society of their time. Their stories had to be embellished in order render them credible.

  7. linda m.'s Gravatar linda m.
    March 11, 2015 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    what Paul Rider said, plus Ken wrote the beginning of the Doxology…

  8. Barbara from St. Barnabas's Gravatar Barbara from St. Barnabas
    March 11, 2015 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    I have to vote for my namesake, Barbara, today. She was steadfast in her faith despite being abused. I cringed when I read that her father asked to be the one to behead her. How happy I was that I did NOT have her Dad as a father!!!!!

    • March 11, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

      I just noticed the title of her picture when I downloaded it. Apparently someone else agreed! “Ghirlandaio_St_Barbara_Crushing_her_Infidel_Father_with_a_Kneeling_Donor”

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 11, 2015 - 10:10 am | Permalink

      Yes, while I am impressed with Thomas Ken and his bravery, I must remain loyal to my patron saint and vote for Barbara. And all my friends, if they know what is good for them will also vote for Barbara because in addition to being the patron saint of firefighters, soldiers, and gunsmiths, she is the patron saint of artillery.

  9. March 11, 2015 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Oh, now, this is not fair. How can I vote for Ken over Barbie? And yet…

    I will just have to ponder this further.

    You know, it would be easier if Ken had an animal attached to add to the Lent Madness Bestiary…

  10. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 11, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    As a fellow Barbara and as a Pirate (we like to use cannons and black powder) I had to go with Barbara.

  11. Oliver-Seven Year Old's Gravatar Oliver-Seven Year Old
    March 11, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Barbara is beautiful.

  12. Tutu Lois's Gravatar Tutu Lois
    March 11, 2015 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    I’m interested that so many comments this year reflect an ignorance of/distaste for the early church, for story, for the imaginative, and for mystics – who are judged “neurotic” or “selfish.” Clearly people prefer reasonable saints, and presumably a domesticated God. I’m now better able to understand why many young people feel short-changed by this impoverished Christianity, and look elsewhere for spiritual nourishment that is more holistic.

  13. PhilEsq's Gravatar PhilEsq
    March 11, 2015 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Can only absorb so much fantasy….and applaud moxie. Go Ken!

  14. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 11, 2015 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    I was all set to vote for Barbara due to having spent time in my post college days in a town named for her. Ken won me over though at his refusal to be the “royal pimp.” I have a pet peeve about folks humoring anything and everything because a person is wealthy or holds a title. I admire folks who don’t do that!

  15. Barbara Dennis's Gravatar Barbara Dennis
    March 11, 2015 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    My name is Barbara and I’ve heard precious little about St.Barbara other than she was a martyr.
    This all sounds a little fabricated too, but I’m voting out of loyalty.

  16. Carla's Gravatar Carla
    March 11, 2015 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    Barbie’s right up there with the headless wonder who also lost her match up.

  17. Ellie Tupper's Gravatar Ellie Tupper
    March 11, 2015 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Another tough one: the patron saint of firefighters and guns, versus the gutsy Royal Non-Pimp. Barbara does have the classier avatar picture. That’s her father underfoot, and very tiny in the background you can see him committing the foul deed itself.

  18. March 11, 2015 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    O Thomas — you had me a “royal pimp.”

  19. Susan Comer's Gravatar Susan Comer
    March 11, 2015 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    I initially was going to vote for Bishop Ken, who was truly a man of principle, until I actually read the Declaration of Indulgence that the good bishop refused to sign. Rather than “promoting Roman Catholicism”, it promotes tolerance for all religions, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Moslem. It looks back on the previous couple of centuries, and acknowledges that trying to enforce one faith for England has not been helpful for the economic and spiritual health of the nation. Bishop Ken failed to see the wisdom in this. Our world today would be safer and closer to God if all could embrace this. I therefore cast my vote for the persecuted but steadfast Barbara. I especially like her love of symbolism in installing the third window in the tower, and her ability to get it done in spite of being locked up.

    • March 11, 2015 - 9:34 am | Permalink

      Susan, the intolerance bothered me too. I was glad to see that Bp Ken remained loyal to the King in fact during the Glorious Revolution, even if he refused to take the oath. Not because I think kingship matters, but because toleration does; and clearly King Charles II recognized his worth. So, a deeper story there than the brief biography can conjure. In the end, I found myself voting for the Doxology, which is my first coherent memory of church.

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 11, 2015 - 10:34 am | Permalink

      There was also a strong civil objection b/c the king was asserting his right to stop or prevent enforcement of laws enacted by the parliament (“sovereign authority, prerogative royal, and absolute power”). The so-called toleration of the Indulgence was arbitrary, at the will of the king, not a universal human right.

    • Geoff McL's Gravatar Geoff McL
      March 11, 2015 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

      I think there is a modern temptation to view James’s Declarations through the prism of modern rights documents like the Canadian Charter or the European Convention. I think that would be a mistake. It’s actually pretty historically contentious that the Declarations of Indulgence were indeed about promoting equality for all regardless of creed and not the first maneuverings of returning the English Church to the Roman obedience (and it’s tempting to imagine what might have been! “England thy dowry as in days of yore”?)

      Ken and his fellow nonjurors’ refusal to recant their oath to James and to bow to the Protestant Hanovers shows that their motive was not simple anti-Catholic bigotry. And, notably for the largely American audience here, the Declarations were themselves an assertion of the Divine Right of Kings over parliamentary supremacy.

      There is a librarian at the Roman Catholic federated university in the University of Toronto who still carries the standard of the House of Wittelsbach, heirs to the Stuarts though they have long ceased to pursue their claim to the throne. He runs quite an impressive website of Jacobite history at Jacobite dot ca. The incumbent pretender is Francis II, titular Duke of Bavaria.

      (That said, I voted for Barbara this round out of respect for my late grandmother!)

  20. Alec clement's Gravatar Alec clement
    March 11, 2015 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Has Lent Madness become a joust between the fabled and the real????

  21. Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
    March 11, 2015 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    My heart goes out to all battered women. My vote however went to Thomas for the pimp thing…….

  22. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    March 11, 2015 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    I didn’t vote for the last Saint to live in a tower with an unreasonable father (this is sad-the name isn’t coming to my mind), so Barbara for today’s match.

  23. NJ's Gravatar NJ
    March 11, 2015 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    The story of Barbara is quite a stretch to me. I’m grateful to Thomas Ken every Sunday as the doxology is sung (and for other hymns he’s penned). I was glad to learn of his other contributions. Go Ken! (And thinking of some other Kens I know too).

  24. Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
    March 11, 2015 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Let me guess . . . I predict the female with epic faith, but unsubstantiated backstory will fall yet again to the guy with the impressively verifiable resume . . . However, for the sake of ALL the “Barbies” who stood up to overbearing fathers who treated them like property and who suffered horrific torture and public humiliation for the “audacity” to hold onto their Christian beliefs, even unto death, Saint Barbara, you have my vote and my humble thanks.

  25. Diane Wick's Gravatar Diane Wick
    March 11, 2015 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    There are certainly a lot of towers this year. Two on one day!

  26. Barbara Tope's Gravatar Barbara Tope
    March 11, 2015 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Obviously Barbara deserves the Golden Halo, so you must vote for her in the first & every round!
    Do you think that so many people were being persecuted for their Christian faith in the first centuries after Christ, that the biographers of these holy people thought they had to embellish the stories to make one stand out?

  27. Linda Clader's Gravatar Linda Clader
    March 11, 2015 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Thomas Ken for his hymns, but also because I have a soft spot for the non-jurors, whose Scottish contingent had such influence on The Episcopal Church.

    • Anne Emry's Gravatar Anne Emry
      March 11, 2015 - 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Amen to that, Linda!

  28. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 11, 2015 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    I don’t want to abandon Barbara, because I know the empiricists in this group–and they are many–will be going for Ken. That saints like Barbara are remembered so many centuries later attests to the strength of their witness.
    Nevertheless, when I read that Ken was the Bishop of Bath and Wells, I was sold. Wells is the most beautiful cathedral in the world, and it is my “thin place”–a spiritual home away from Home. Ken it is!

    • Vicki's Gravatar Vicki
      March 11, 2015 - 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Wells Cathedral was what did it for me too. I admire them both, but it took me back to standing on the green in front of the cathedral when i was a kid…. and Elizabteh Goudge and A City of Bells danced through may head and my finger hit the Ken button. Sorry about the dragon though.

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        March 11, 2015 - 9:53 pm | Permalink

        I wasn’t going to comment anymore, but you mentioned Elizabeth Goudge and I had to say something! Love her!

  29. Barbara A's Gravatar Barbara A
    March 11, 2015 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Another Barbara for Barbara. Too bad there are not more of us

  30. Diane HH's Gravatar Diane HH
    March 11, 2015 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Barbara’s tale is indeed fantastical…but learning she “inspired Spanish mariners to name the difficult straits off the California coast Santa Barbara” clinched it for me – for no really good reason other than memories. BTW, you know you are obsessed with Lent Madness when you see an ad from Big Lots that begins with “This is Madness” and wonder what is Big Lots’ connection with Lent…

    • linda m.'s Gravatar linda m.
      March 11, 2015 - 11:57 am | Permalink

      ha! yes, some of us can be totally obsessed. now anything purple sends me into a tither! in a good way.

  31. March 11, 2015 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Both of these saints followed their conscience and stood up to authority. Barbara paid with her life. Therefore, I’ll vote for Barbara. The details of her life and death have no doubt been re-told as part of the Golden Legend, those oral stories that entertained and taught ordinary people over the centuries. We post-Englightenment people worry about whether these miracle stories are true. The original audience knew that the heart of the story was true, and the metaphorical details were meant to make a point.

  32. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 11, 2015 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    And again, I remind those who think these ancient stories of women are just too fantastical to be believed: consider how women who dare to step outside the traditions that imprison them are treated in much of our world today. Were Barbara’s story not embellished, it would have been painfully ordinary and real. I vote for my namesake because she does speak to me.

  33. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    March 11, 2015 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Speaking truth to power seems to be today’s theme! The quote about being the royal pimp sold me on Ken.

  34. March 11, 2015 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    Sorry Barbie, had to be Ken, could be all those years in the Choir…….and writing the Doxology doesn’t hurt either… may have had better hair Barbie, but Ken takes it for me…….

  35. Martha's Gravatar Martha
    March 11, 2015 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Barbara is also the patron saint of pyrotechnicians and, since my family was in fireworks manufacturing, we always asked her to keep all the pyrotechnicians and spectators safe at fireworks displays throughout New England. So, despite not knowing more about her , I have chosen her today!

  36. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    March 11, 2015 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    How could anyone refuse to vote for the man that claims royalty begged for seats to hear him preach, as well as being the chaplain who refused to be the king’s pimp……..Thomas Ken gets the vote today!

  37. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    March 11, 2015 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Barbara is beyond my ken.

    • Christi Hill's Gravatar Christi Hill
      March 11, 2015 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

      OUCH to Scott

  38. Carol Mannchen's Gravatar Carol Mannchen
    March 11, 2015 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Thomas Ken seems to be a person who had the courage of his convictions, whereas Barbara seemed like a fairy tale person. I am into voting for those who were real — at least for this year.

  39. Beverley Ridpath's Gravatar Beverley Ridpath
    March 11, 2015 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    This feels like deja vu all over again.

  40. Patti's Gravatar Patti
    March 11, 2015 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Must go with Barbie today, I want to learn more about her and the fact that the land of my childhood church was “given” by Mary of William and Mary fame I can not in good conscience vote for someone who did not support her.

  41. Elise's Gravatar Elise
    March 11, 2015 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    It was interesting to learn from another comment that the indulgence Ken opposed called for religious tolerance! Christian women were treated horrifically, so I’m standing with Barbara today.

  42. MBD's Gravatar MBD
    March 11, 2015 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Barbara. Daughter and sister of artillery men. Thanks for keeping her on the calendar rather than ‘demoting’ her to Miss Barbara status.

  43. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    March 11, 2015 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Yet another virgin locked in a tower then beheaded by her father vs, the writer of “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”? This is a no brainer for me. Sorry, Barbie!

  44. Helen-Louise Boling's Gravatar Helen-Louise Boling
    March 11, 2015 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Having sent St Barbara medals to numerous EOD techs [bomb disposal] in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past 10 or so years, I must go with her. Even “unbelievers” carried the medal.

  45. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 11, 2015 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Barbara had my vote even before I read Susan Comer’s comment which details the document Ken refused to sign.

    Thanks for the research Susan!
    “I initially was going to vote for Bishop Ken, who was truly a man of principle, until I actually read the Declaration of Indulgence that the good bishop refused to sign. Rather than “promoting Roman Catholicism”, it promotes tolerance for all religions, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Moslem. It looks back on the previous couple of centuries, and acknowledges that trying to enforce one faith for England has not been helpful for the economic and spiritual health of the nation. Bishop Ken failed to see the wisdom in this. Our world today would be safer and closer to God if all could embrace this. “

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 11, 2015 - 10:41 am | Permalink

      It is true that the Indulgence promoted tolerance ~ however, it is also true that the Indulgence was crafted primarily as a political move on the part of the king who used the Indulgence to re-assert his absolute power, including preventing enforcement of laws enacted by the parliament. The tolerance was not asserted as a right of humans or as a value in communal life, but as a gift of the king, who could (and did) remove that tolerance at will.

      • Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
        March 12, 2015 - 6:06 am | Permalink

        Ah, yes, politics, yesterday, today and unfortunately probably tomorrow!

        • Christi Hill's Gravatar Christi Hill
          March 12, 2015 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

          Politics: plus ca change, plus c’est la meme.

  46. Martha's Gravatar Martha
    March 11, 2015 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    As an Episcopalian, I have to go with Ken. It was non-jurors like Ken who made possible the church here. Plus…I admire his sticking up for his principles despite royal pressure.

  47. Edna's Gravatar Edna
    March 11, 2015 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    Barbie vs Ken! Such an an impossible choice and the SEC must be quite pleased with their pairing as they watch the results flood in.

  48. March 11, 2015 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    I voted for Thomas Ken. May not have if I had read the comments beforehand and found out what the Declaration of Indulgences said. I’ve been trying to be more open to these early saint stories. Perhaps the over the top violence is a memory thread of the very real torture these young women went through? And they are, in their way, rebels. But miracles for St. Barbara were that her father was stuck by lightning AFTER he beheaded her, and that her wounds healed and so she was tortured AGAIN? At this moment, I’m telling myself that there was something of comfort here for the first generations of storytellers and listeners that helped to sustain them with their lives rather than a fascination for the violence contained in the stories.

  49. Carol Dorman's Gravatar Carol Dorman
    March 11, 2015 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    I agree that the story of Barbara is fantastical however I doubt the stories of her abuse are. I am voting for her because she should be the patron saint of victims of domestic violence.

  50. March 11, 2015 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    I voted for Ken, partly because I voted for Margaret yesterday and I thought two ghastly fathers in two days were two too many. (And I loved Ken’s snarky reply to Charles.) But now I’m kind of sorry. We need mysticism as well as certified practicality.

  51. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 11, 2015 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Ken’s story is compelling. Standing up to the powerful is so Christ like. I have mostly avoided the fantastical martyrs so far but Barbara’s story touched me. It is a story of abuse -one that is all too common in today’s world.
    So it’s Barbie for me! Plus, in the world of Barbie and Ken, Barbie is always the star! Ken gets thrown under the bed.

  52. Carey's Gravatar Carey
    March 11, 2015 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    I have to vote for Ken as much as I love Barbara and her redecorating while dad was away but I love the doxology plus the part about not serving as Pimp to the King was enlightening.

  53. melle's Gravatar melle
    March 11, 2015 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    I vote for Barbara in support of all abused children. And Barbie.

  54. Marjorie Jodoin's Gravatar Marjorie Jodoin
    March 11, 2015 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    Another Rapunzel horror! Barbara does bear a striking resemblance to .. who was it? Margaret of Antioch? .. I really can’t bear to think of what our 3rd c. christian ancestors went through in reality. Why isn’t there an 11th commandment, “thou shalt not torture!”

    On the lighter? side, I stayed in the home of the secretary to the Dean of Winchester where Nell was housed (outside the close) and where the gateway to the close was in the rear wall (later blocked). So I feel very close to the events surrounding Ken. His willingness to speak with moral honesty to the King is a contrast to Cardinal Wolsey & Henry VIII. Of course, that was a different king, keen to wield the ax, rather than one who’s father got beheaded.

  55. John Michael Sophos's Gravatar John Michael Sophos
    March 11, 2015 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    It’s that little man who refused lodgings to Poor Nell for me today.

  56. Elaine Wiant's Gravatar Elaine Wiant
    March 11, 2015 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    “Praise God from whom all blessings flow,” How could I not vote for Ken!

  57. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 11, 2015 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    If I invent woman with an awful father, a tower surrounded by a moat with ravening seals, lightening crashing through the windows and beheading her can she be in the Saintly Smackdown next year. I could call her St. Theclabara.

  58. Lois Keen's Gravatar Lois Keen
    March 11, 2015 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    My vote didn’t take the first time. So after hitting. “Vote ” an “view results” several times, I bailed and opened to a fresh page and voted again. This time it worked . For Barbara. So if I show as having voted multiple times it’s not my fault! Just delete any extra votes.

  59. Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
    March 11, 2015 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    I vote for Barbara as a representative of all enslaved and martyred women throughout the world — another Rapunzel.

  60. March 11, 2015 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Thomas Ken gets my vote for perhaps being the first to say the immortal words, “Whoa, Nellie!”

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 11, 2015 - 10:07 am | Permalink

      Oh, that’s a good one, Lou!!

  61. Brian Perkins's Gravatar Brian Perkins
    March 11, 2015 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    I must vote for Barbara as the patron saint of artillerymen. As a supporter of the Henry Knox Museum, I have come to hold The Order of Saint Barbara in high esteem. Early canons were unreliable, and it is believed that she protected many men from the lightning flash that took her evil father. For Marines and Army artillerymen, she is the one “from whom all blessings flow”…albeit indirectly, of course.

    • Alan Justice's Gravatar Alan Justice
      March 11, 2015 - 10:44 am | Permalink

      I’ve known some modern canons (to the ordinary) who were unreliable, too.

  62. Cheryle's Gravatar Cheryle
    March 11, 2015 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    It’s hard to vote against a man who refused to the “Royal Pimp,” but on behalf of daughters with lousy fathers in every generation, I have cast my vote for Barbara. Besides, “dastardly deed” is just so evocative!

  63. john miller's Gravatar john miller
    March 11, 2015 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    The Doxology has been a main stay for me lo these many years. This, again, was a tough choice. My heart goes out to Barbara for the abuse she suffered from father and the devil. But Ken’s speaking truth to power is impressive and lacking so often in today’s church.

  64. Susan Ann Barbara's Gravatar Susan Ann Barbara
    March 11, 2015 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    I just had to choose Barbara. She is the Saint from whom I chose my Confirmation Name many, many, many years ago!

  65. Susan Powers's Gravatar Susan Powers
    March 11, 2015 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    Whoa, no! William & Mary won’t do . . .

    • David M.'s Gravatar David M.
      March 11, 2015 - 11:47 am | Permalink

      Well I did not think that girl could be so cruel!

  66. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 11, 2015 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Barbie’s my girl. What a story! I cast my vote for her in loving memory of my own dear, sweet father who never in a million, trillion years would have laid an angry hand on me. He was a courtly, Southern gentleman and always did the right thing for his family. I am truly blessed. Poor Barbara on the other hand. That wretched, backstabbing father of hers certainly got what he deserved.

  67. Pat's Gravatar Pat
    March 11, 2015 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    While in Israel a few years ago, we met a Christian Palestinian who told us that if his daughter married a non-Christian, he would kill her – we could not believe what we had heard and he repeated that he would kill her as she had no future outside of Christianity – this occured in the 21st century! Barbara’s courage and strength of purpose are impressive in holding firm against an irate father, who also had his committed pagan mind. There are Christians in parts of the world holding out today against turning and are being threatened, tortured, assaulted, imprisoned and beheaded. May Barbara’s spirit inspire them! My prayers and thoughts are with these brave beleagered Christians – that they be allowed to live in peace with their religious beliefs – my vote is with Barbara!

  68. Sandi's Gravatar Sandi
    March 11, 2015 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Even though I had a deprived childhood (no Barbie or Ken), I was moved to vote for Barbara as I recalled this simple video:
    Besides we are heading into Laetare Sunday – gotta lighten up a bit!

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 11, 2015 - 10:26 am | Permalink

      I don’t speaken the Deutsch, but I got the gist of it! Too funny!! (I did look up “prost,” and now I have a new word to use in traffic!)

  69. March 11, 2015 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Thomas Ken contributes concretely to worship every Sunday. Couldn’t really pass on voting for him this round.

  70. Harry Moncelle's Gravatar Harry Moncelle
    March 11, 2015 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    The words in the collect,” we may constantly defend what is right, boldly reprove what is evil,” sold me on Ken!

  71. Ralegh's Gravatar Ralegh
    March 11, 2015 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    I throw my support behind Barbie. I love her Rapunzel like story, and her father seems incredibly cruel. Ken was obviously a stalwart and true individual, but I want a little magic in my life, so this time I vote for that!

  72. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 11, 2015 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    Well, it looks like I once again go with the winner, despite my sympathy for underdogs. Ken recommends himself on two counts. (1) Anybody who can tell monarchs–first Charles II and then Bill & Mary–where to get off, has my support. (2) Again, my vote as a musician goes to a hymnodist, whose famous Doxology is tacked on as a last verse to three of his hymns in Hymnal 1982.

  73. Alison Bentley's Gravatar Alison Bentley
    March 11, 2015 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    As the daughter of a World War II artilleryman and mother of a former firefighter, Barbie gets my vote!

  74. Gloria Rousseau's Gravatar Gloria Rousseau
    March 11, 2015 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    The story line about virgin daughters locked in towers, secret catechism sessions, turning to Christianity, and being tourtured to death must be prerequisite for women to be elevated to sainthood. I was going to ask where you found them all, then remembered you are working from the list of saints. I already voted for that group of saints so will vote for the little man who would not pimp….and refrain from making any comments about possible motives for his refusal. Was that a passive, snide remark?

  75. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 11, 2015 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    This one was really difficult. I love Ken’s moxie, and certainly love the Doxology, but Barbara, oh, Barbara, it does not get much better than abusive dad getting smote by lightening. Barbara is also the Catholic equivalent to the male Chango (Yoruba diety) in Cuban Santeria. After much consideration, my vote goes to the underdog today, for an uppity woman who has had an even more interesting afterlife than she could have possibly imagined.

  76. Carla's Gravatar Carla
    March 11, 2015 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    I would vote for Theclabara

  77. Annette's Gravatar Annette
    March 11, 2015 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    Can’t help but wonder how hard ya’ll had to work to come up with Barbie vs Ken. Love it!

  78. ceilr's Gravatar ceilr
    March 11, 2015 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    If someone is going to get sacked for the sake of the Gospel, the circumstances need to be a little more “normal.” I voted for Thomas Ken. And anyone who writes hymns only strengthens the vote.

  79. March 11, 2015 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    How can I not vote for Ken when my eldest son and Grandfather are (were) named Ken?

  80. KLF's Gravatar KLF
    March 11, 2015 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    Maybe in future Lent Madnesses (and may there be many more — this is the first year I have been aware of it!) there can be match-ups head-to-head of some of the less historical saints. We could have had Margaret of Antioch vs Barbara, for example. Then the folks who don’t like those early stories would have to pick one or the other, rather than just voting for somebody more recent. Just a suggestion. I’m looking forward to the Saintly Sixteen round.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 11, 2015 - 10:39 am | Permalink

      I agree, KLF!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 11, 2015 - 10:42 am | Permalink

      I’m not voting for someone who’s more recent, I’m voting for someone who’s more real/probable/believable that I might emulate which is what I thought the idea of Saints was supposed to be. I love fairy tales and tall tales and folklore but ye gods and little fishes! Theclabara for me all the way!

    • JES's Gravatar JES
      March 11, 2015 - 10:51 am | Permalink

      Agreed!! We keep throwing out the women mystics in favor of the latter day church administrators. Not fair!

  81. Angie's Gravatar Angie
    March 11, 2015 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    Would Forward like to collect all the Collects in a collection? I am always moved by the strength of their prayerful conviction and the beauty of their language.

  82. Art's Gravatar Art
    March 11, 2015 - 10:35 am | Permalink

    Ken probably didn’t want to be tempted by Nell. Also, Susanna Wesley (the mother of John and Charles, last year’s golden halo winner), was a non-juror.

    • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
      March 11, 2015 - 10:39 pm | Permalink

      No, Susanna W. was never a non-juror. Her father was a Puritan preacher, but as a teenager she left his church for the C of E, and remained a member for life. The non-jurors were dissenters, but quite different in both their beliefs and their raison d’etre from the Puritans.

  83. Robin's Gravatar Robin
    March 11, 2015 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    I agree that today’s, again, was not quite an even match-up. A woman of faith tortured by a man long enough ago that proofs of her life are lacking vs. a man in more current times who has documented accomplishments. This has happened a few times during this season. I would have liked to have seen more even match-ups at least for the first round — really like when the voting brings up a 59 vs. 41 instead of a 70 vs. 30.

  84. linda d's Gravatar linda d
    March 11, 2015 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    in honor of women everywhere who stand firm in their faiths, no matter in situations of great oppression and danger, I cast my vote today for Barbara.

  85. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 11, 2015 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    I surprised myself when voting for Ken, but Barbie is just too much a ‘fairy-tale princess’ saint for me.

  86. Adam Naff's Gravatar Adam Naff
    March 11, 2015 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    Although I picked Ken in my bracket, I had to vote for Barbara, having served on the USS Santa Barbara for two years during my Navy enlistment.

  87. Marian's Gravatar Marian
    March 11, 2015 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    Why am I not surprised Ken leads? The second sentence of Barbara’s biography used the words inconsistencies and obvious embellishments. Please let me form my own opinion.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 11, 2015 - 10:49 am | Permalink

      Yeah, when I read that I thought, well just throw her under the bus then!

  88. Helen's Gravatar Helen
    March 11, 2015 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    Margaret. Barbara. Fourteen Auxiliary Saints. Oh, what I missed growing up in the 1950s and 60s Congregational Church.

  89. Marney's Gravatar Marney
    March 11, 2015 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    The “Royal Pimp” almost got me, but I graduated from Santa Barbara High, so Barbie gets my vote.

  90. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 11, 2015 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    I have to vote for Barbara for several reasons. We were at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma where they train the artillery. she was their patron saint and St. Barbara’s day was celebrated by officers and enlisted men with great festivities. Our daughter was baptized that day and it was really a special occasion. Of course the RC church dumped her in 1959 for lack of evidence but no matter, we celebrated anyway. Also, she is held in high regard by sailors because of her connection with lightening. You don’t really want to be at sea when there is a lot of lightening. Hence, call on Barbara.

  91. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 11, 2015 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    I do wish you would not call her Barbie. that is so condescending today.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 11, 2015 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

      And I wish these fastastic, fantasmagorical, deranged, fairy tale women who weep and sob and fly and survive beheadings and the like would not be called mystic. That’s certainly a misnomer when grouped with the likes of Hildegard, Julian and their ilk.

      • Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
        March 11, 2015 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Here here

  92. Richard Leslie's Gravatar Richard Leslie
    March 11, 2015 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    St. Barbara is the patron saint of artillery, a result no doubt of the lightning directed upon her father by a keen forward observer. As a field artilleryman my vote goes to her.

  93. Harry Alford's Gravatar Harry Alford
    March 11, 2015 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    A man would be foolish to vote against someone who has the same name as his wife. Barbara it is!

  94. Charlie's Gravatar Charlie
    March 11, 2015 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    As a graduate of the College of William & Mary in Virginia, I simply cannot countenance anyone who opposed their accession. So Barbara it must be.

  95. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 11, 2015 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    In honor of the fidelity and steadfastness of so many abused and martyred women, I’m going with Barbara. Not that our lives in modern America are really comparable, but as a woman ordained in 10980 I had my call to ministry questioned often enough to feel that my spiritual and professional life was on the line. Also, I remember the abused women I saw in the ER all those Sunday nights…

  96. Jennifer B-C Seaver's Gravatar Jennifer B-C Seaver
    March 11, 2015 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    St. Barbara all the way.

  97. Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
    March 11, 2015 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    Thomas Ken is inspiring! His approach to faith seems more applicable to my life.

  98. JP's Gravatar JP
    March 11, 2015 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    I’ve figured it out – if you want to be a saint, you have to be born to a “wealthy pagan family.”

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 11, 2015 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Wealthy pagan family, be a virgin, get locked in a tower, have sharp things like swords and teeth aimed at you — I’ll never be a Saint.

  99. Pris's Gravatar Pris
    March 11, 2015 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Ken. my favorite Hymn!

  100. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    March 11, 2015 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    It’s just my opinion,but losing one’s head for your faith trumps losing one’s job every time. A vote for St Barbara! (although I agree that Ken’s pimp comment is indeedworthy of the Dowager Countess-I can just hear her saying that!)

  101. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    March 11, 2015 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    It actually took 2 saints “locked in towers” for me to recognize the same symbolism as the Rapunzel story. For the beauty of figurative language, I’m giving Barbara my vote.

  102. Marty Garwood's Gravatar Marty Garwood
    March 11, 2015 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    Yesterday we had one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and today we have one of the Fourteen Auxiliary Saints. I am curious if it is the same 14 people – but the group is just called by different names?

    • Deacon Georgia's Gravatar Deacon Georgia
      March 11, 2015 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

      I am just as curious. Who are the 14 Auxiliary Saints? And does that discredit Barbara, is she not a “real” saint?

  103. Jean Abbe's Gravatar Jean Abbe
    March 11, 2015 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    Why boys always pull the heads off their sisters’ Barbie dolls. Honoring the saint’s father.

    • linda m.'s Gravatar linda m.
      March 11, 2015 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

      the girls do that, too! never thought of that. i like that!

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        March 11, 2015 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Hilarious, y’all!!!

  104. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    March 11, 2015 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    Saint Barbara is the patron saint of artillery men. Artillery thunders from the sky as does lightening. Saint Barbara is celebrated on her day by Artillery men. Perhaps. Saint Barbara should be the patron saint of abused children.

  105. Miss J's Gravatar Miss J
    March 11, 2015 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    No non-Juring Bishops, no Scottish Episcopal Church Bishops able to consecrate Samuel Seabury as the first Bishop of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Every confirmed Episcopalian in the US owes the fact that they could be confirmed in the US to the existence of non-Juring bishops. So Ken it is. (And for the record I have no memory of ever willingly removing the heads of any Barbies, but if I did, I repent of it, since one beheading was one too many for Saint Barbara.)

  106. Suzanne's Gravatar Suzanne
    March 11, 2015 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    2015 has been my first Lenten Madness and I’ve loved learning about so many saintly folks… I voted for Ken. Sorry, Barbie.

  107. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    March 11, 2015 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for the hymnwriter! Besides the Doxology, Thomas Ken wrote “All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night”, the words to the Tallis Canon which anyone who has sung in a choir has probably sung at some point — including as a canon! It is one of my favorites, as is the Doxology — the choir of which I am a member always sings the Doxology in parts as our table grace when we are having fellowship after rehearsal or at our annual end-of-the-year get-together.

    • Kristenza's Gravatar Kristenza
      March 11, 2015 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Phil, thank you so much for sharing the beautifully sung hymns. They are such a calm respite to this hectic day. You are my saint of the day!

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      March 11, 2015 - 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for posting this lovely music, Phil!

  108. March 11, 2015 - 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Barbara’s my homegirl, despite the AWESOME quote from Thomas Ken. I even wrote a song about her!

  109. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    March 11, 2015 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow (Doxology)

  110. mary jane ingalls's Gravatar mary jane ingalls
    March 11, 2015 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I live in Santa Barbara, California and like to think the beauty of this place is in her honor.

  111. Diane Norton's Gravatar Diane Norton
    March 11, 2015 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Ken for me.

  112. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    March 11, 2015 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Another version of the Tallis Canon:

  113. Katherine Schroeder's Gravatar Katherine Schroeder
    March 11, 2015 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Barbara for me today. The fantastic elements of her story are just a given for almost any saint of her era. And she was martyred for her faith — didn’t have the option of retirement, poor girl. Also beheading seems to be making an unfortunate come-back in the 21st century, so the thought of eternal life after it is very comforting.

  114. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    March 11, 2015 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Tron today – I tend to be swayed by historicity and was leaning heavily towards Ken, and the line about refusing to be a pimp for the king really almost had me. But I have a friend Barbara who works in Women’s Studies who came to Christianity from another background and so in her honour I have voted for Barbara.

  115. Opus2010's Gravatar Opus2010
    March 11, 2015 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

    All in all, a completely under-whelming series of whacky women. Did you use up all the documented, saintly, effective women last year? Not only disappointing, but a little insulting.

  116. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 11, 2015 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

    As a Barbara, I have to vote for her. Barbaric, Barbarism = these words were used because the foreigners were those who spoke in ‘Bar bar’ sounds. When I was a kid, I remember that the church said that St. Christopher and Barbara were not real people. I was disappointed, but there are so many Barbaras and Christophers around there are many saints carrying their names.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 11, 2015 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Who told you they weren’t real? None of us lived then, and I’ll just bet there were bona fide people whose lives got these stories started!

      • Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
        March 11, 2015 - 1:47 pm | Permalink

        I’m thinking it’s just a writing style. It annoys me too and I wish there was more “hard” information about some of these saints, but maybe that says more about me than about or forbearers and their writing styles.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 11, 2015 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Probably were many actual people whose lives got these stories started but they didn’t survive beheadings etc. Soooo how much do we know about them and how seriously should we take these stories when we KNOW they’re at least partially “embroidered”? Where does the embellishment begin and/or end? How can we pattern our day-to-day lives today after a life that is not real?

        • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
          March 11, 2015 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

          But everyone on this board is here because we are all trying to pattern our lives after someone who did a lot of fantastic things that are not in our day-to-day experience, don’t we? 😀

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            March 11, 2015 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

            But I’m not about to sek to weep and sob my way into heaven not to storm the portals there of holding my super-glued on head or be desirous of leaping intoa tank of ravenous seals even if I could find such a tank. Teaching in the vernacular of the community, saying “no” to improper requests, going out and about in the lands unknown to spread the Gospel, writing a journal telling of the wonderful happenings in the Holy Land — those are things worthy of emulation, at least in my estimation.

  117. Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
    March 11, 2015 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    My son just pointed out that Bishop Ken’s feast day is the 20th and Gregory the Illuminator’s is on the 23rd. Lent Madness–“saintly smackdown,” or a sly way of educating our youth?;-)

  118. James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
    March 11, 2015 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Have you seen pictures of “poor little Nellie????”

    Thomas definitely exercised restraint, to say nothing of “moxie.”

  119. Gwen's Gravatar Gwen
    March 11, 2015 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

    My son is a volunteer firefighter. That makes the decision an easy one.

  120. Stephen Lane's Gravatar Stephen Lane
    March 11, 2015 - 1:34 pm | Permalink

    How about some women saints worthy of serious consideration?

    • Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
      March 11, 2015 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

      I suspect the percentage of women saints in Lent Madness if larger than the number of women in the House of Bishops. Just a thought…

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        March 11, 2015 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Ooh, touché!

      • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
        March 11, 2015 - 4:32 pm | Permalink


    • Heather's Gravatar Heather
      March 11, 2015 - 2:16 pm | Permalink

      We could use more “not pimping” for power. I think Congress and lobbyists should take note of Thomas Ken.

    • Bill's Gravatar Bill
      March 11, 2015 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Stephen Lane – right on!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 11, 2015 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Amen and Amen!

    • Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
      March 11, 2015 - 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Here here.

  121. Carolina's Gravatar Carolina
    March 11, 2015 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Barbara because the story of her father violently opposing her life choices reminded me of so many young people today who are persecuted for who they have found themselves to be. Just because a story has become fantastical over time does not mean it does not contain truth.

    • Richelle's Gravatar Richelle
      March 11, 2015 - 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! I’ve been wavering all day, but you’ve helped me to finally make up my mind.

  122. March 11, 2015 - 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Stephen, for a version of what I have been thinking. It’s hard to choose between someone whose story is so “virgin martyr saint” with all the fantastical pieces of it, and someone who has a real history. There are women across the ages who have verifiable stories more similar to most of the men we have been offered in the bracket.
    Have they all been used already?

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 11, 2015 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Do we have to use the male model of saintliness? Are there not many images, vastly different but equally compelling?

  123. March 11, 2015 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

    It is “not suitable that the Royal Chaplain should double as the Royal Pimp.” Having served at a number of affluent parishes, with parishioners who sometimes felt “privileged”, I learnt early in my ministry essentially what Ken was saying. Not only was it not good for us clergy, it wasn’t good for their (parishioners) souls either. So “well done” Thomas Ken…. and with the Doxology to boot, this is strictly “no contest.”

  124. Valerie DeBenedette's Gravatar Valerie DeBenedette
    March 11, 2015 - 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I am voting for Ken, but it should be noted that legend has it that the class of drugs called barbiturates were named for St. Barbara. According to Wikipedia: “The most likely story is that Baeyer and his colleagues went to celebrate their discovery in a tavern where the town’s artillery garrison were also celebrating the feast of Saint Barbara—the patron saint of artillerymen. An artillery officer is said to have christened the new substance by amalgamating Barbara with urea.”

  125. Bill's Gravatar Bill
    March 11, 2015 - 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Is it my imagination, or has the SEC decided to be particularly keen on ancient women whose stories are so fantastical that they not only strain credulity but shatter it all together? I must be too much the modernist but my eyes glaze over at the first mention of a miraculous delivery from harm or injury. So Ken it is and besides what’s not to like about a man who refuses (to his face) the bishop’s unseemly request.

  126. Jay Whisnant's Gravatar Jay Whisnant
    March 11, 2015 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Barbara because she suffered ore than ken. Her own father beheaded her than lightning struck him dead. I feel she was more deserving.

  127. Lisa R.'s Gravatar Lisa R.
    March 11, 2015 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Note to the high muckity-mucks of the SEC: for the next iteration of Lent Madness, PLEASE add a “Like” button, even a “LOVE THIS!” button. Some of the comments are so spot on, there’s no need to add more, but one does feel the need to say… ah, yes, this is the ticket: we need an “Amen!” button. Kudos, gentlemen, for an entertaining and enlightening Lenten practice.

  128. Cathy's Gravatar Cathy
    March 11, 2015 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I can’t make out why Thomas is a Saint. He seems like he had a relatively planned and safe path and was only asked to speak out in sophisticated manner within his realm on colleagues, like a politician. This seems like a minimum to be a Christian never mind a historical saint. Alas, Barbara’s unexpected conversation like usual, and due to her circumstances, had to pay the price because it didn’t sit well with those who wanted all the control, especially God control.

  129. Christianne McKee's Gravatar Christianne McKee
    March 11, 2015 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    For standing up for what he believed even when it meant going against the king, Thomas Ken gets my vote. (I always liked Ken better than Barbie).

  130. Michelle Crull's Gravatar Michelle Crull
    March 11, 2015 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    While both Ken and Barbie are no doubt worthy saints, I had to vote for Barbara. Did anyone else notice the propensity for these ancient fathers to lock their daughters in towers, Irene the Great in the 4th century and Barbara in the 3rd? Maybe, like Amber Belldene said in Irene’s writeup, this really is where Rapunzel came from.

  131. Susanka's Gravatar Susanka
    March 11, 2015 - 3:06 pm | Permalink

    “Every night her wounds healed while she was in her cell”. This is what happens to each of us every night when we practice self-examination and confession; our sin wounds are healed when God blots them out and remembers them no more (Is43:25). My sin is real and yet God makes it disappear. With penitent hearts, perhaps especially during Lent, we are mindful that this is like life from a tomb. The story of Jesus’ resurrection sounds like fantasy to doubters, unbelievable, improbable, invented. What do I need for my soul to be nourished? Mysticism or certified practicality? Both. My vote is for Barbara.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 11, 2015 - 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Loveliness! Perfectly said. Thank you!

  132. Carol Riddick's Gravatar Carol Riddick
    March 11, 2015 - 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I think it is late enough in the day that I can be fairly certain that Thomas Ken will trounce Barbara (Barbie). I think he won out because he was at least a believable person. I also liked his approach to spreading the word of God taking into consideration of people’s closely held ethnic beliefs. I even think he has a chance against Elgeria who beat out my favorite, Hildegard of Bingen, a true feminist of the first order.

  133. Michelle Pittenger's Gravatar Michelle Pittenger
    March 11, 2015 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Barbara. I’m a native of Santa Barbara county. I also find the disdain expressed by so many commentators for Saints with imaginative elements in their biographies a little distressing. God isn’t domestic, and any historian worth their salt will acknowledge that much of history has a mythic component to it.

  134. March 11, 2015 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Ken, but I’ll be wearing my Priest Barbie pink vestments on Sunday. So, they both win.

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 11, 2015 - 5:40 pm | Permalink

      I so wish you could post a photo of those vestments! Please tell me there’s a matching pink thurible.

  135. Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
    March 11, 2015 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    An interesting cultural reference from the Wikipedia about the “Fourteen Holy Helpers”: ( )

    ‘The “fourteen angels” of the lost children’s prayer in Engelbert Humperdinck’s fairy opera, ‘Hansel and Gretel’, are the Fourteen Holy Helpers. The English words are familiar:
    When at night I go to sleep,
    Fourteen angels watch do keep,
    Two my head are guarding,
    Two my feet are guiding;
    Two upon my right hand,
    Two upon my left hand.
    Two who warmly cover
    Two who o’er me hover,
    Two to whom ’tis given
    To guide my steps to heaven.’

    Barbara is one of the 14 Helpers – – and they are the same thing as the “Auxilliary Saints,” apparently. Each one was considered an intercessory aid against various diseases and ailments.

    And yes, I voted for her…..

  136. March 11, 2015 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Once again, it’s historicity over pious legend to determine my vote.

  137. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    March 11, 2015 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Ken – but glad the first round is ending – hard to get excited about so many “blowouts”

  138. janet's Gravatar janet
    March 11, 2015 - 4:40 pm | Permalink

    How could I vote against Ken who refused to be a “royal pimp” – what an eye opening statement at 630 this morning 🙂

  139. Bonnie Chartier's Gravatar Bonnie Chartier
    March 11, 2015 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Some of these stories are just too weird….sorry, Barbara, it’s Ken for me!

  140. Leslie's Gravatar Leslie
    March 11, 2015 - 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Barbara. It took courage to stand up for her faith.
    Also like the idea of the 14-helpers.

  141. Leslie's Gravatar Leslie
    March 11, 2015 - 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Barbara. She was a courageous girl to stand up to her father. Plus like the idea of her being one of the 14-helpers.

  142. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 11, 2015 - 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Much as I like to vote for women, Barbie sound too much like one more “death-before-dishonor” dame. Thomas Ken it is! (Besides, one of my sons is a Thomas.)

  143. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 11, 2015 - 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Much as I like to vote for women, Barbie sounds too much like one more “death-before-dishonor” dame. Thomas Ken it is! (Besides, one of my sons is a Thomas.)

  144. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    March 11, 2015 - 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I enjoy the legends that date to the beginning of our Christian Faith and cherish the scribes who recorded, as best they could, the already embellished folklore preserved in earlier generations through the retelling. The stories evolve in time through the native culture and collective thought, but appear meaningfully captured in heartfelt substance.
    I really love that. I am so glad they are not dismissed. And when I read about Saints of well recorded history, I feel the significance of the historical timeline here as well as in Europe and other places on the globe. I’m enriched by the enlightenment, and grateful. Let’s sing the Doxology! 🙂

  145. Bill Ericson's Gravatar Bill Ericson
    March 11, 2015 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Ken for me.

  146. Nancy T.'s Gravatar Nancy T.
    March 11, 2015 - 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I love the name Barbara, and some Barbaras besides. But I can’t vote for a Rapunzel with incredulous miracles, sorry. Ken was brave, gets my vote.

  147. Richelle's Gravatar Richelle
    March 11, 2015 - 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m baffled by the disdain so many have expressed for saints with “fantastical/miraculous/mythical” stories. Isn’t there a fair amount of material in the Bible that could be described in that way?

    • Nancy T.'s Gravatar Nancy T.
      March 12, 2015 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. The Bible, however, generally has some point to make, at least in the New Testament.

  148. jane's Gravatar jane
    March 11, 2015 - 6:55 pm | Permalink

    First time I let the comments sway my vote. Switched from Barbie to Ken. Fantastical or not I thought she suffered far more, while I definitely liked the “pimp” comment and the Doxology. I was also trying to shape the next bracket with Egeria vs Babs. That being said, I think it will be a better more evenly matched battle with Egeria and Ken. Time will tell.

  149. Kris's Gravatar Kris
    March 11, 2015 - 7:09 pm | Permalink

    So it’s old, moldy songwriter vs. a woman who remodeled without her father’s permission? Barbara it is!

  150. Mary W's Gravatar Mary W
    March 11, 2015 - 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Ken didn’t have my vote until the Doxology, but that swung me!

  151. March 11, 2015 - 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I was set to vote for the ancient St. Barbara, because I don’t think we should be afraid of a little medieval superstition in our spirituality. And one local Episcopal priest remembers passing out her holy cards to every artilleryman and tanker in his regiment while he was an Army chaplain.

    However, I in the end had to switch my vote to St. Thomas Ken. He stood up to royalty for a matter of principle four times- he defied the Dutch Stadtholder William while he was Princess Mary’s chaplain in Den Hauge in addition to the times listed here.

  152. Peg of Tucson's Gravatar Peg of Tucson
    March 11, 2015 - 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Gotta go with my boy Ken. Love my Barbies but I’ve always had a soft spot for a good accessory 😉

  153. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 11, 2015 - 10:01 pm | Permalink

    How could any American Episcopalian not vote for a non-juring bishop.

  154. Martha Frances's Gravatar Martha Frances
    March 11, 2015 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Love the story about Thos. Ken standing up to the King about Nellie, but that can’t top Barbara responding to the power she had to confront her father. Had to vote for Barbara, no diminutive there!

  155. Mike F's Gravatar Mike F
    March 11, 2015 - 10:58 pm | Permalink

    How, Chris? Easily, actually. St. Barbara is the patron saint of field artillerymen (not soldiers, though we are a subset). As a field artilleryman and the father of a serving field artillery officer, the choice was simple. Bishops, however holy, are a dime a dozen. Patron saints are much harder to come by.

  156. Diane HH's Gravatar Diane HH
    March 11, 2015 - 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Apparently I neglected to cast my vote this morning and I’ve now been swayed by the canon…Ken has my vote now. Campaigning works!

  157. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 11, 2015 - 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Be present at our table, Lord!
    Be here and everywhere adored!
    These mercies bless, and grant that we
    May feast in paradise with Thee!
    [sung to the doxology as a table grace ] given to us by our former choir director, the late George Lee

  158. Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
    March 11, 2015 - 11:35 pm | Permalink

    I suspect Ken’s “promotion” to Bath and Wells was more to get him out of town than a sign of admiration. He was an authentic Anglican saint, so he gets my vote. What was with all these Levantine girl-martyrs disrespecting their fathers?

  159. Nancy Gilmour's Gravatar Nancy Gilmour
    March 12, 2015 - 1:30 am | Permalink

    Yes, many aspects of Barbara’s life story are fantastical. The core of it, however, strikes me as true. I was immediately struck by the similarities between her life and what I imagine and know to be the lives of women still persecuted today in patriarchal, tribal societies. I can easily imagine a scenario where Barbara’s father returned home to discover that in his absence she had in some religious, societal way willfully defiled herself. I can also imagine she could have added that “third window” knowing the penalty for such a ‘crime’. Barbara, martyred for her Christian faith, represents innocents like her everywhere. Steadfastness and courage in the face of almost certain death deserves my deepest admiration and my vote.

  160. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 12, 2015 - 2:18 am | Permalink

    I have to say that this was the contest in which the Anglican position that we shouldn’t get worked up over things indifferent appealed to me the most. Ken’s principled positions on kings and GOD appealed to me more than his facilitation of singing metrical paraphrases of the Psalms, again balanced with my Bourgeois taste in music. (Yes, there’s a contradiction in there.) Then to boot I have an enormous sympathy for Nell Gwynn, an actress who played the daughter of a Roman Emperor in TYRANNIC LOVE, a verse drama on the martyrdom of St. Catherine. John Dryden’s epilogue to this play was delivered by Gwynn speaking as actress and royal mistress. It ends with her (that is Dryden’s) couplet designed to serve as the actress’s epitaph: “Here Nellie lies, who tho’ she liv’d a slattern, Yet died a Princess, playing in St. Cat’ern.” Say what you will about the Restoration, the leading figures in it had a grand sense of style. I voted for Barbara, my mother’s sister’s namesake, for that reason and out of my deep respect for the Fourteen Holy Helpers, a beautiful expression of the creation of saints out of the people’s imagination. Whose church is it anyway? I suspect, but don’t know, that the Holy Helpers’ story lies behind the wonderful scene in Humperdinck’s “HANSEL AND GRETEL,” where fourteen angels watch over the sleeping babes in the woods. And then there are the first responders for whom she’s a patron saint.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 12, 2015 - 8:01 am | Permalink

      Thanks for giving us Nell’s story. And the John Donne connection. Fascinating!

  161. Robin Hunt's Gravatar Robin Hunt
    March 12, 2015 - 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I have a feeling that there are some parishioners at the Sub-Dean’s Cathedral who would claim Thomas Ken as their patron saint, much to the chagrine of Father Robert.

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