By Christina Hermoso
Catholics will honor tomorrow (June 11) the memory of Saint Barnabas (San Bernabe Apostol), considered as the most esteemed man of the first Christian generation.
Ranked by the Church with the twelve apostles of Christ, St. Barnabas, like St. Paul, was not actually one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, although both had received a special mission to evangelize and to spread the Good News. Saint Barnabas was a cousin of Saint Mark, the Evangelist.
An early Christian missionary and martyr, formerly known as Joseph, the apostles renamed him Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement.” Together with St. Paul, his missionary companion, they converted thousands to the faith. He was one of the first prophets and teachers of the Church in Antioch, now known as the city of Antakya in Turkey.
According to tradition, St. Barnabas was stoned to death because of his adherence to the Christian faith in Salamis, Cyprus. A shrine has been erected in that city in his honor and memory.