Apostle (First Century)
+ Although he is not numbered as one of the Twelve Apostles, Barnabas is also honored with the title “Apostle” in both the Eastern and Western Churches.
+ A Jew of the tribe of Levi, his success in preaching prompted the Apostles to change his name from Joseph to Barnabas—“Son of Consolation” (see Acts 4:36).
+ In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke praises his generosity and faith. It was Barnabas who first accompanied Saint Paul in his travels to Cyprus and Antioch and to the First Council of Jerusalem.
+ Following a dispute with Saint Paul, Barnabas returned to Cyprus with his nephew, John Mark.
+ While we know nothing certain of the remainder of Saint Barnabas’ life, tradition relates that he was stoned to death in Salamis, Cyprus, sometime before the year 61. Hs relics were later enshrined in Constantinople, where a great church was built in his honor.
In 1530, Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria founded a new religious community—the Clerks Regular of St. Paul—in Milan. His hope was to provide support and reforms for the Church in that area, which had been ravaged by war between the Holy Roman Empire and France. Eight years later, the young community was given an old monastery dedicated to Saint Barnabas to be their permanent home in Milan. From this monastery, the community of priests and brothers received the name by which they are most commonly known: the Barnabites.
“The two, Paul and Barnabas disagreed at the beginning of the second missionary journey… Hence there are also disputes, disagreements, and controversies among saints. And I find this very comforting, because we see that the saints have not ‘fallen from Heaven.’ They are people like us, who also have complicated problems.”—Pope Benedict XVI
O God, who decreed that Saint Barnabas,
a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
should be set apart to convert the nations,
grant that the Gospel of Christ,
which he strenuously preached,
may be faithfully proclaimed by word and by deed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.Access our archives of daily saint biographies here