Born to wealthy Jewish parents on the island of Cyprus, Joseph, who was later named Barnabas by the Apostles, was among Christ’s earliest followers and was responsible for welcoming St. Paul into the Church. Meaning “Son of Encouragement”, St. Barnabas played a major supportive role in establishing the Christian community as well as serving as a kind of mediator between the former persecutor and the suspicious Jewish Christians. Early in his life, St. Barnabas sold his large property and donated the money to the apostles for the poor – where he was given his new name. Barnabas was also able to persuade the community to accept Paul – from Tarsus - as a disciple. The two were then sent to the city of Antioch, Syria, to build up and care for their fledging church for a year. Paul and Barnabas, now clearly seen as charismatic leaders, were sent by Antioch officials to preach to the Gentiles and traveled to Jerusalem twice. He had also accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey that began in Cyprus and circuited through Asia Minor where their efforts gained enormous success. Barnabas and Paul left Antioch along with Barnabas' cousin John Mark, who would later compose the most concise account of Christ's life and be canonized as St. Mark. However, they became expelled from one town and had to go back to Jerusalem to clear up the ever-recurring controversy about circumcision – where even the best of friends can have differences. When Paul wanted to revisit the places they had evangelized, Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark, but Paul insisted that, since Mark had deserted them once, he was not fit to take along now. Barnabas and Paul finally separated in their ministries, while remaining apostles of the one Catholic Church, over Paul's insistence that Mark not travel with them again. St. Barnabas then returned to Cyprus with St. Mark. And although the date, place, and circumstances of his death are historically unverifiable, Christian...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document