On this day also, St. Barnabas, one of the seventy apostles, was martyred. He was from the tribe of Levi. His ancestors left Judea long before he was born and moved to the island of Cyprus. His name was Joses. Our Lord, to Whom is the glory, gave him the name "Barnabas", which means son of "encouragement" or "consolation", when He called him to become an apostle. He received the gift of the Holy Spirit in the upper room with the disciples. He preached the gospel with them and witnessed to the Name of Christ.
He had a field which he sold and brought the price and placed it at the feet of the apostles. (Acts 4:36-37) The apostles honored him for his many virtues and for his honesty. When St. Paul believed in the Lord Christ, St. Barnabas presented him to the rest of the disciples in Jerusalem, three years after his conversion. St. Barnabas told the apostles how the Lord appeared to St. Paul near Damascus and attested to his zeal before them. The apostles accepted St. Paul in their fellowship. The Holy Spirit said to the disciples, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." (Acts 13:2)
St. Paul and St. Barnabas travelled together to many countries preaching the Name of the Lord Christ. When they entered Lystra and St. Paul healed the man who was crippled from his mother's womb (Acts 14:8-18), the people of Lystra thought that they were gods, and they brought oxen and garlands to the gates intending to sacrifice them at the feet of the apostles. St. Paul and St. Barnabas forbade them and rejected the glory of men. They tore their clothes saying that they were men with the same nature as they.
After they travelled together to many cities, they were separated from each other. St. Barnabas took with him St. Mark and went to Cyprus. They preached there and converted many people to the faith of the Lord Christ and baptized them. The Jews resented them. So they falsely accused them before the governor. They seized St. Barnabas and brutally beat him, then they stoned him and finally burnt his body with fire. Thus, his strife was completed and he received the crown of martyrdom. After the people had left, St. Mark came and carried the body, wrapped it, and placed it in a cave in Cyprus. St. Mark then went to Alexandria to preach there.
The prayers of these two apostles be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
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