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Saint of the Day St. Barnabas


Saint Barnabas (Google Images / Manila Bulletin)
Saint Barnabas (Google Images / Manila Bulletin)

St. Barnabas

Feast Day: June 11
Birth: unknown Cyprus
Death: reputedly 61 AD Salamis, Cyprus
Canonized By: Pre-Congregation
Attributes: Pilgrim’s staff; olive branch; holding the Gospel of Matthew
Patronage: Cyprus, Antioch, against hailstorms, invoked as peacemaker

Life: Barnabas (English: bɑrnəbəs; Greek: Βαρνάβας), born Joseph, was an early Christian, one of the prominent Christian disciples in Jerusalem. According to Acts 4:36, Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew. Named an apostle in Acts 14:14, he and Paul the Apostle undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against the Judaizers. They traveled together making more converts (c. 45–47), and participated in the Council of Jerusalem (c. 50) Barnabas and Paul successfully evangelized among the “God-fearing” Gentiles who attended synagogues in various Hellenized cities of Anatolia.

Barnabas’ story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles. Tertullian named him as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but this and other attributions are conjecture. Clement of Alexandria and some scholars have ascribed the Epistle of Barnabas to him, but his authorship is disputed.

Although the date, place, and circumstances of his death are historically unverifiable, Christian tradition holds that Barnabas was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus, in 61 AD. He is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church. The feast day of Barnabas is celebrated on June 11.

Barnabas is usually identified as the cousin of Mark the Evangelist on the basis of Colossians 4. Infrequent occurrence in the Septuagint to its presence in Josephus and Philo, “anepsios” consistently carries the connotation of “cousin”. Some traditions hold that Aristobulus of Britannia, one of the Seventy Disciples, was the brother of Barnabas.

Barnabas curing the sick by Paolo Veronese, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen.
Barnabas appears mainly in Acts, a history of the early Christian church. He also appears in several of Paul’s epistles.
Barnabas, a native of Cyprus and a Levite, is first mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as a member of the early Christian community in Jerusalem, who sold some land that he owned and gave the proceeds to the community (Acts 4:36-37). When the future Apostle Paul returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas introduced him to the apostles (9:27). Easton, in his Bible Dictionary, supposes that they had been fellow students in the school of Gamaliel.

The successful preaching of Christianity at Antioch to non-Jews led the church at Jerusalem to send Barnabas there to oversee the movement (Acts 11:20–22). He found the work so extensive and weighty that he went to Tarsus in search of Paul (still referred to as Saul), “an admirable colleague”, to assist him. Paul returned with him to Antioch and labored with him for a whole year (Acts 11:25–26). At the end of this period, the two were sent up to Jerusalem (44 AD) with contributions from the church at Antioch for the relief of the poorer Christians in Judea.

They returned to Antioch taking John Mark with them, the cousin or nephew of Barnabas. Later, they went to Cyprus and some of the principal cities of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia (Acts 13:14). After recounting what the governor of Cyprus Sergius Paulus believed, Acts 13:9 speaks of Barnabas’s companion no longer as Saul, but as Paul, his Roman name, and generally refers to the two no longer as “Barnabas and Saul” as heretofore (11:30; 12:25; 13:2, 7), but as “Paul and Barnabas” (13:43, 46, 50; 14:20; 15:2, 22, 35). Only in 14:14 and 15:12-25 does Barnabas again occupy the first place, in the first passage with recollection of 14:12, in the last 2, because Barnabas stood in closer relation to the Jerusalem church than Paul. Paul appears as the more eloquent missionary (13:16; 14:8-9; 19-20), whence the Lystrans regarded him as Hermes and Barnabas as Zeus.The King James Version renders the Greek name “Zeus” by the Latin name “Jupiter” (14:12).
, Saints Paul and Barnabas at Lystra (Sacrifice at Lystra), Bartholomeus Breenberg,1637,Princeton University Art Museum
Returning from this first missionary journey to Antioch, they were again sent up to Jerusalem to consult with the church there regarding the relation of Gentiles to the church (Acts 15:2; Galatians 2:1). According to Galatians 2:9-10, Barnabas was included with Paul in the agreement made between them, on the one hand, and James, Peter, and John, on the other, that the two former should in the future preach to the pagans, not forgetting the poor at Jerusalem. This matter having been settled, they returned again to Antioch, bringing the agreement of the council that Gentiles were to be admitted into the church without having to adopt Jewish practices.

After they had returned to Antioch from the Jerusalem council, they spent some time there (15:35). Peter came and associated freely there with the Gentiles, eating with them, until criticized for this by some disciples of James, as against Mosaic law. Upon their remonstrances, Peter yielded apparently through fear of displeasing them, and refused to eat any longer with the Gentiles. Barnabas followed his example. Paul considered that they “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel” and upbraided them before the whole church (Galatians 2:11-15).

Paul then asked Barnabas to accompany him on another journey (15:36). Barnabas wished to take John Mark along, but Paul did not, as he had left them on the earlier journey (15:37-38). The dispute ended by Paul and Barnabas taking separate routes. Paul took Silas as his companion, and journeyed through Syria and Cilicia; while Barnabas took John Mark to visit Cyprus (15:36-41). John Francis Fenlon suggests that Paul may have been somewhat influenced by the attitude recently taken by Barnabas, which might have proven prejudicial to their work.

Barnabas is not mentioned again in the Acts of the Apostles. However, Gal. 2:11-13 says, “And when Kephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong. For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews (also) acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.”

Barnabas is also mentioned in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, in which it is mentioned that he and Paul funded their missions by working side jobs and (it is implied) went without wives and other benefits other apostles received (1 Cor. 9:6); Paul states that he and Barnabas forsook those benefits “that we may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:12).

DCF Writer Christi Simus Non Nostri

Sources Info/Quotes :

  1. WikiPedia
  2. AzQuotes

 


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