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Barnabas


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(first century),

apostle. A Jewish Cypriot and a Levite, Barnabas (the name means ‘son of consolation’) was an early Christian disciple but not one of the Twelve. He introduced Paul to the other apostles; together Paul and Barnabas were sent to Antioch and undertook the ‘first missionary journey’ which began in Cyprus. At the council of Jerusalem Barnabas supported the Gentile Christians. Later Barnabas and Paul quarrelled and separated; Barnabas returned to Cyprus and evangelized it. Paul's references to him in Galatians and Corinthians possibly indicate a wider apostolate. However, legend claims he died a martyr at Salamis in 61. Various apocryphal writings were attributed to him.

The Order of Barnabites, founded by Antony Zaccaria at Milan in 1530, took their name from their principal church, dedicated to Barnabas, once believed to have been Milan's first bishop. In England there were thirteen ancient church dedications and not a few modern ones. His true title to fame is the prominent part he took in the development of the infant Christian Church. Feast: 11 June.

Acts of the Apostles, especially ch. 4–15;AA.SS. Iun. II (1698), 421–60;L. Duchesne, ‘Saint Barnabé’ in Mélanges G.B. De Rossi, pp. 417–71.

Subjects: Christianity.


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