Who Was St. Barnabas?
St. Barnabas was a Jew from Cyprus who, with St. Paul, was an apostle to the Gentiles. We know that when Paul, who had been a persecutor of Christians, was converted and wanted to join Jesus’ followers, the Disciples were understandably skeptical about Paul. It was Barnabas who advocated for him.
Barnabas was part of the debate about whether Gentiles had to be circumcised before they could become Christians. He was also instrumental in getting to an agreement that Gentiles did not have to be circumcised, but were to keep dietary laws, thus preserving the community.
Because he was a reconciler who found ways to keep the community together, he was known as the “son of encouragement”, and sometimes as the patron saint of second chances.