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Saint Barnabas The Apostle


Saint Barnabas The Apostle

Feast Day: June 11

Saint Barnabas, also known as Bernabé, was born as Joseph in Cyprus. He was of Levite Jewish descent but later converted to Christianity soon after the Pentecost. Upon his conversion, he took the name Barnabas, which means "son of encouragement" or "son of consolation," reflecting his role as an encourager and supporter of others in the early Christian community. Although not one of the chosen Twelve Apostles, Barnabas played a significant role in the early Christian movement. He is frequently mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and is considered an Apostle himself. Barnabas is said to have been present among the prophets and doctors in Antioch, where he worked alongside the Apostle Paul. Barnabas is especially known for being a companion of Saint Paul and serving as his introduction to the other Apostles. Together, they embarked on missionary journeys which aimed to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles. They first traveled to the island of Cyprus, where Barnabas is believed to have evangelized alongside Saint Mark. After their missionary work in Cyprus, Barnabas and Paul traveled through Asia, proclaiming the Good News and establishing Christian communities. However, a dispute arose between them regarding a non-theological matter, leading to a separation in their missionary partnership. Despite this disagreement, Barnabas continued his evangelizing mission separately. One of his notable achievements was the foundation of the Church in Antioch, which became a significant center for early Christianity. Barnabas played a crucial role in nurturing and strengthening this community, ensuring its growth and development. Barnabas' devotion to spreading the Christian faith extended beyond his missionary journeys. He is believed to have been an author of some apocryphal works, although the exact extent of his writings is uncertain. Tragically, Saint Barnabas met a martyr's death. In approximately 61 AD, he was martyred in Salamis, Cyprus, where he was born. It is said that at the time of his execution, Barnabas was carrying a copy of the Gospel of Saint Matthew, which he had painstakingly transcribed by hand. This act of preserving and spreading the Word of God emphasizes his deep commitment to his faith. Saint Barnabas is often depicted in art holding an ax or lance, symbolizing his martyrdom. He is portrayed as a middle-aged bearded apostle, standing on or near a pile of stones while holding a book, representing his association with the Word of God. Additionally, he is sometimes shown alongside Saint Paul, denoting their close friendship and partnership in the early Church. Saint Barnabas' feast day is celebrated on June 11th. Although he was not officially canonized, his veneration predates the formal process of canonization. Nonetheless, he is honored as a significant figure in Christian history and spirituality. Saint Barnabas is recognized as the patron saint against hailstorms and is invoked for his intercession in promoting peace. He is also revered as the patron of Antioch, Cyprus, and is particularly invoked in Marbella, Costa del Sol, Spain, and Marino, Italy. His life and example continue to inspire countless believers to emulate his encouraging nature and dedication to spreading the Gospel message.