By Christina Hermoso
The Roman Catholic Church on Tuesday will pay tribute to Saint Barnabas (San Bernabe Apostol), an early Christian missionary and martyr, and a cousin of Saint Mark the Evangelist.
Considered by the Church as a loyal follower of Jesus Christ, St. Barnabas, like St. Paul, was not actually one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, although both had received a special mission to evangelize and to spread the Good News.
As one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem, St. Barnabas was considered as the most esteemed man of the first Christian generation. 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 stories, St. Barnabas was stoned to death for standing by his Christian faith in Salamis, Cyprus where a shrine has been built in his honor and memory.