St. Barnabas, Apostle and Martyr

June 11 is the memorial of St. Barnabas, apostle and martyr.

Barnabas was not one of the original apostles, but was a Levite from Cyprus, originally named Joseph but renamed Barnabas, which means "Son of Encouragement" by them. It was Barnabas who presented St. Paul to the other Apostles when, after his long retreat in Arabia, he came to Jerusalem for the first time after his conversion to submit for Peter's approval the mission to the Gentiles entrusted to him by the Master Himself. He was present with Paul at the Council of Jerusalem (ca. 50). Barnabas was Paul's companion and helper on his first missionary journey and returned with him to Jerusalem, but left him when he set out on his second journey and went to Cyprus. After having converted many souls to Christ, Barnabas died in Cyprus during Nero's reign; tradition has it that he was stoned to death in the year 61. The name of St. Barnabas is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass.

St. Luke described Barnabas as 'a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith' (Acts 6:24). He was known for his exceptional kindliness and personal sanctity, and his openness to pagans.

St. Barnabas is the patron against hailstorms. He is also the patron saint of Antioch, Cyprus, and Marino, Italy. He is invoked as a peacemaker.


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