The arrival of Christianity in Salamis
Barnabas was born in Salamis into a Jewish family. It is from Salamis that Apostles Paul and Barnabas embarked on their first missionary enterprise and preached Christianity in the synagogues of the city. Apostle Barnabas was crucified by a large hostile crowd that burned him ‘so that even his bones became dust’. Mark and other disciples secured Barnabas’ bundle of ashes and fled to a cave.
The Monastery of St. Barnabas in Enkomi, Courtesy by Edwards
See more photographs: (click on thumbnails to see enlarged photographs)
From 396 onwards, Cyprus was incorporated administratively into the Eastern Byzantine Empire and the governor of Cyprus appointed from the province of Antioch. During the 5th century when Anthemios was king of Salamis-Constantia, the patriarch of Antioch decided to grant autonomy to the Cypriot Church. Archbishop Anthemios dreamt of Apostle Barnabas and this led him to his tomb. The Archbishop then went to Constantinople where he offered Emperor Zeno, the original of St Matthew’s hand written gospel that he had found on Apostle Barnabas chest. With this gesture he managed to secure the autonomy (autocephalous) for the Church of Cyprus and other privileges.
The present day monastery of Apostle Barnabas is built on the ruins of the 5th century basilica that Anthemios had erected on the orders of Emperor Zeno.