In Salamina, Cyprus, the natal day Not his birthday but the day he died and was "born again" into Heaven of St. Barnabas the Apostle, a Cypriot who was ordained by Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles. He traveled with Paul through many regions and joined him in preaching the Gospel. He crowned his apostolate with a glorious martyrdom in Cyprus. In the time of the Emperor Zeno [474-91] his body was discovered, himself having revealed it, along with a copy of the Gospel of Matthew written in Barnabas's own hand. – Roman Martyrology for June 11
This saint's attribute is a book or scroll, but unfortunately many other saints are depicted with books in hand so he is not easy to identify. In the legends he was put to death by fire, so the image at right uses a flame along with a scroll to identify him. In one case his attribute is an olive branch, perhaps because of the "peace mission" on which the Apostles send him and Paul in Acts 15.
The reason for the book or scroll is that many of the legends say that when Barnabas went to preach in Cyprus he took a copy of Matthew's gospel with him and would lay it on sick people to cure them (image).1
In the Acts of the Apostles Barnabas is a companion of St. Paul, so we see them together in some narrative images. Ambrosius Francken painted the scene in Acts where the two are "set apart" by the Holy Spirit. Especially popular is the episode in which the people of Lystra mistake the two for gods come to earth, as in the second picture on the right.
Prepared in 2015 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University. Revised 2018-07-10.