Saint Barnabas had the honour of being a member of that band of seventy-two disciples sent out to seek souls. A native of the island of Cyprus, he sold all his land and brought the money and laid it at the feet of the Apostles. (Acts 4; 37), He was elected an Apostle and surnamed Barnabas, which means, “the son of consolation,” as a compliment to his gift of speaking. It was this Joseph Barnabas who led Paul to the Apostles and convinced them of his sincerity. Barnabas accompanied Saint Paul in his missionary journeys, and his name is frequently mentioned in the Acts. (Cf. chapters 9, 12, 13, 14). He was present at the Council of Jerusalem in 49. (Acts 15:4).
In his native Cyprus his apostolate was crowned with martyrdom during the reign of Nero. He was buried with a copy of the Gospel of Saint Matthew, which he had copied with his own hand.