Known as the “Son of Encouragement,” Barnabas was a Levite Jew from the island of Cyprus and a leader in the early Christian community in Jerusalem (Acts 4:36).

Around 35, Barnabas traveled to Antioch (modern Antakya). and along with the apostle Paul, he be- came one of the prominent leaders in Antioch’s early church (Acts 11:19–24). It was in Antioch that the followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26).

Barnabas joined Paul on his first mission journey through the Roman province of Galatia (the region of central Turkey). Later Barnabas and Mark—his nephew and the writer of the Gospel of Mark—went to minister on the island of Cyprus. After their going to Cyprus, the New Testament does not mention Barnabas.

It is believed that he was martyred in Salamis around 61. The Acts of Barnabas states that he was bound with a rope by the neck and dragged to the site where he was burned to death. Barnabas is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church.