Thursday, 21 October 2021

Saint at beginning of Christian church

BEFORE the publication of this edition of the Henley Standard, the Christian world church-wise celebrated the Feast of St Barnabas, which is kept on June 11.

In the UK there are some 13 ancient church dedications to St Barnabas and quite a few modern ones.

I myself was the curate in charge of a church and community centre dedicated to St Barnabas in Rotherham in the Fifties.

For readers who are interested in the history of St Barnabas, they will want to know that he was a first century apostle and the name Barnabas means “son of consolation”.

Clearly he was an early Christian disciple but not one of the 12, although he did introduce St Paul to the other apostles.

We also know that Paul and Barnabas were sent to Antioch, undertaking the “first missionary journey”, which began in Cyprus.

Also of interest to many ecumenical readers of today will be the fact that at the Council of Jerusalem Barnabas was known to have supported the Gentile Christians.

We also know that later Paul and Barnabas had a row and separated — Barnabus went back to Cyprus and is known to have been an Evangelist there.

Paul made references to Barnabas in both the books of Galations and Corinthians which perhaps indicate a wider apostolate.

Legend claims that St Barnabas died a martyr at Salamis in 61.

St Barnabas’s true fame is the prominent part he took in the development of the infant Christian church.

Christian readers of today will perhaps take to themselves the example of St Barnabas and continue His work of development and evangelism.

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