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Apostle Barnabas

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Apostle Barnabas

For other uses, see Barnabas (disambiguation).
Barnabas
Icon of Saint Barnabas
Apostle to Antioch and Cyprus
Born unknown
Cyprus
Died reputedly 61 AD
Salamis, Cyprus
Honored in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches, Anglican Communion, Lutheran Church
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Major shrine Monastery of St Barnabas in Famagusta, Cyprus[1]
Feast June 11
Attributes Pilgrim's staff; olive branch; holding the Gospel of St Matthew
Patronage Cyprus, Antioch, against hailstorms, invoked as peacemaker

Barnabas (

Barnabas' story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles.[2] Tertullian named him as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews,[2] but this and other attributions are conjecture.[6] Clement of Alexandria ascribed the Epistle of Barnabas to him, but that is highly improbable.[7]

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.[2] He is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church. The feast day of Barnabas is celebrated on June 11.[2]

Barnabas is usually identified as the cousin of Mark the Evangelist on the basis of Colossians 4.[8] Some traditions hold that Aristobulus of Britannia, one of the Seventy Disciples, was the brother of Barnabas.

Etymologies

His Acts 4:36 explains the name as υἱός παρακλήσεως, hyios paraklēseōs, meaning "son of consolation" or "son of encouragement". A similar link between ”prophecy” and ”encouragement” is found in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 14:3).

Barnabas in the New Testament

Barnabas appears mainly in Acts, a Christian history of the early Christian church. He also appears in several of Paul's epistles.

Barnabas is one of the first teachers of the church at Antioch (Acts 13:1). Barnabas was a Levite. He was a native of Cyprus, where he possessed land (Acts 4:36, 37), which he sold, giving the proceeds to the church in Jerusalem. When Saint Paul returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas took him and introduced him to the apostles (9:27). Easton, in his Bible Dictionary, supposes that they had been fellow students in the school of Rabbi Gamaliel. [9]

The prosperity of the church at Antioch led the apostles and brethren at Jerusalem to send Barnabas there to superintend the movement. He found the work so extensive and weighty that he went to Tarsus in search of Paul, "an admirable colleague", to assist him.[10] 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 (AD 44) with the contributions the church at Antioch had made for the poorer members of the Jerusalem church.

Shortly after they returned, bringing John Mark with them, they were appointed as missionaries to Asia Minor, and in this capacity visited Cyprus and some of the principal cities of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia (Acts 13:14). With the conversion of Sergius Paulus, Paul begins to gain prominence over Barnabas from the point where the name "Paul," his Roman name, is substituted for "Saul" (13:9); instead of "Barnabas and Saul" as heretofore (11:30; 12:25; 13:2, 7) we now read "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 two, because Barnabas stood in closer relation to the Jerusalem church than Paul. St. Paul appears as the preaching missionary (13:16; 14:8-9, 19-20), whence the Lystrans regarded him as Hermes, St. Barnabas as Zeus[11][12] (14:12). 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 Gal. 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.

It is quite likely, however, that the epistle of Galatians was written prior to the Jerusalem council, and that it refers to a meeting between Paul, Barnabas, and Peter, James, and John that happened earlier. Much of the scholarship of the 1800s assumes that Galatia was a province to the north of the first missionary journey churches started through Paul and Barnabas' ministry as described in Acts 13-14. But archaeology and recent scholarship accepts the fact that the province of Galatia included many of the first missionary journey churches. It would have been very strange indeed for Paul to have omitted the fact that the apostles and elders of the Jerusalem church had not laid circumcision as a requirement upon the Gentiles considering the topic of the epistle after it became a controversy in Galatia. It is more likely that the epistle was written some time before the Jerusalem council, and that teachers came from Jerusalem to Antioch teaching the need for it after Paul wrote his epistle to the Galatians, churches from the first missionary journey, addressing this issue.

After they had returned to Antioch from the Jerusalem council and after spending some time there (15:35), Paul 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 former 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). According to Hippolytus of Rome, John Mark is not Mark the Cousin of Barnabas, and Barnabas did not dispute with Paul because of personal favor to a blood relative, but due to his character as his nickname Barnabas ("Son of Encouragement") indicates.

Barnabas is not mentioned again by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. However, in Gal. 2:13 a little more is learned about him, that he followed Peter's example of not eating with Gentiles; and from 1 Corinthians 9:6 it may be gathered that he continued to labor as missionary. It is believed that his argument with Paul was resolved.

Barnabas and Antioch

Antioch, the third-most important city of the Roman Empire,[13] then the capital city of Syria province, today Antakya, Turkey, was where Christians were first called thus.[14] It was indeed the site of an early Christian community, traditionally said to be founded by Peter . A considerable minority of the Antioch church of Barnabas's time belonged to the merchant class, and they provided support to the poorer Jerusalem church.[4]

Council of Jerusalem

Main article: Council of Jerusalem

Barnabas participated in the Council of Jerusalem, which dealt with the admission of gentiles into the Christian community, a crucial problem in early Christianity.[4] Paul and Barnabas proposed that gentiles be allowed into the community without being circumcised.

Martyrdom

Main article: Christian martyrs

Church tradition developed outside of the canon of the New Testament describes the martyrdom of many saints, including the legend of the martyrdom of Barnabas.[2] It relates that certain Jews coming to Syria and Salamis, where Barnabas was then preaching the gospel, being highly exasperated at his extraordinary success, fell upon him as he was disputing in the synagogue, dragged him out, and, after the most inhumane tortures, stoned him to death. His kinsman, John Mark, who was a spectator of this barbarous action, privately interred his body.[15]

According to the History of the Cyprus Church,[16] in 478 Barnabas appeared in a dream to the Archbishop of Constantia (Salamis, Cyprus) Anthemios and revealed to him the place of his sepulchre beneath a carob-tree. The following day Anthemios found the tomb and inside it the remains of Barnabas with a manuscript of Matthew's Gospel on his breast. Anthemios presented the Gospel to Emperor Zeno at Constantinople and received from him the privileges of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, that is, the purple cloak which the Greek Archbishop of Cyprus wears at festivals of the church, the imperial sceptre and the red ink with which he affixes his signature.

Anthemios then placed the venerable remains of Barnabas in a church which he founded near the tomb. Excavations near the site of a present day church and monastery, have revealed an early church with two empty tombs, believe to be that of St. Barnabas and Anthemios.[17]

St. Barnabas is venerated as the Patron Saint of Cyprus.

Other sources

Although many assume that the biblical Mark the Cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10) is the same as John Mark (Acts 12:12, 25; 13:5, 13; 15: 37) and Mark the Evangelist, the traditionally believed author of the Gospel of Mark, according to Hippolytus of Rome,[18] the three "Mark"s are distinct persons. They were all members of the Seventy Apostles of Christ, including Barnabas himself. There are two people named Barnabas among Hippolytus' list of Seventy Disciples, one (#13) became the bishop of Milan, the other (#25) the bishop of Heraclea. Most likely one of these two is the biblical Barnabas; the first one is more likely, because the numbering by Hippolytus seems to indicate a level of significance. Clement of Alexandria (Stromata, ii, 20) also makes Barnabas one of the Seventy Disciples that are mentioned in the Gospel of Luke 10:1ff.

Other sources bring Barnabas to Rome and Alexandria. In the "Clementine Recognitions" (i, 7) he is depicted as preaching in Rome even during Christ's lifetime.

Not older than the 3rd century is the tradition of the later activity and martyrdom of Barnabas in Cyprus, where his remains are said to have been discovered under the Emperor Zeno. The Cypriot Church claimed Barnabas as its founder in order to rid itself of the supremacy of the Patriarch of Antioch, as did the Archbishop of Milan afterwards, to become more independent of Rome.[19] In this connection, the question whether Barnabas was an apostle became important, and was often discussed during the Middle Ages.[20] The statements as to the year of Barnabas's death are discrepant and untrustworthy.

Alleged writings

Tertullian and other Western writers regard Barnabas as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews. This may have been the Roman tradition—which Tertullian usually follows—and in Rome the epistle may have had its first readers. But the tradition has weighty considerations against it.

According to Photius (Quaest. in Amphil., 123), Barnabas wrote the Acts of the Apostles. (Current consensus ascribes the book to the author of Luke.)

He is also traditionally associated with the Epistle of Barnabas, although modern scholars think it more likely that that epistle was written in Alexandria in the 130s. The 5th century Decretum Gelasianum includes a Gospel of Barnabas amongst works condemned as apocryphal; but no certain text or quotation from this work has been identified.

Another book using that same title, the "Gospel of Barnabas", survives in two post-medieval manuscripts in Italian and Spanish.[21] Contrary to the canonical Christian Gospels, and in accordance with the Islamic view of Jesus, this later "Gospel of Barnabas" states that Jesus was not the son of God, but a prophet and messenger. The book also says Jesus rose alive into Heaven without having been crucified and mentions Mohammad by name.[22] Though the exact dating is disputed, there is also a dispute among scholars as to the work being pseudepigraphical or apocryphal.[23]

See also

Notes

  • An outstanding Disciple for the current 2011 children of Christ's Church(Body) through Holy hip-hop.

References

  • Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. "The Penguin Dictionary of Saints," 3rd edition, New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-14-051312-4.

Literature: Epistle of Barnabas

  • Die Apostolischen Väter. Griechisch-deutsche Parallelausgabe. J.C.B. Mohr Tübingen 1992. ISBN 3-16-145887-7
  • Der Barnabasbrief. Übersetzt und erklärt von Ferdinand R. Prostmeier. Series: Kommentar zu den Apostolischen Vätern (KAV, Vol. 8). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht: Göttingen 1999. ISBN 3-525-51683-5

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External links

  • Biography of St Barnabas
  • Gospel of Barnabas
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  • The Ecole Glossary about Barnabas
  • The Epistle of Barnabas
  • Jewish Encyclopedia: Barnabas
  • Parish of St Barnabas in Tunbridge Wells, England, UK
  • Barnabas Community Church, Shrewsbury, England, UK
  • St Barnabas Monastery and Icon Museum, Famagusta, Cyprus
  • St. Barnabas, Patron Against Hailstorms, Invoked as Peacemaker

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