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Searching for the Apostles

Barnabas - John the Baptist - Luke



by McBirnie Ph.D.


     William Smith provides us, with the following:

"HIS NAME SIGNIFIES son of prophecy, or exhortation (or, but not
so probably, consolation, as A.V.), given by the Apostles (Acts
4:36) to Joseph (or Joses), a Levite of the island of Cyprus, who
was only a disciple of Christ. In Acts 9:27, we find him
introducing the newly converted Saul to the Apostles in
Jerusalem, in a way which seems to indicate a previous
acquaintance between the two. On tidings coming to the church at
Jerusalem that men of Cyprus and Cyrene had been preaching to
Gentiles at Antioch, Barnabas was sent thither (Acts 11:19-26 ),
and went to Tarsus to seek Saul, as one specially raised up to
preach to the Gentiles. (Acts 26:17) Having brought Saul to
Antioch, he was sent with him to Jerusalem, with relief for the
brethren in Judaea. (Acts 11:30) On their return to Antioch they
(Acts 13:2) were ordained by the Church for the missionary work,
and sent forth (A.D.45). From this time Barnabas and Paul enjoy
the title and dignity of Apostles. Their first missionary journey
is related in Acts 13. It was confined to Cyprus and Asia Minor.
Some time after their return to Antioch (A.D.47 or 48), they were
sent (A.D.50), with some others, to Jerusalem, to determine with
the Apostles and elders the difficult question respecting the
necessity of circumcision for the Gentile converts. (Acts 15:1)
On that occasion Paul and Barnabas were recognized as the
Apostles of the Uncircumcision. After another stay in Antioch, on
their return, a variance took place between Barnabas and Paul on
the question of taking with them, on a second missionary journey,
John Mark, sister's son to Barnabas. (Acts 15:36) 'The contention
was so sharp that they parted asunder,' and Barnabas took Mark,
and sailed to Cyprus, his native island. Here the Scripture
notices of him cease. As to his further labors and death,
traditions differ. Some say he went to Milan, and became first
bishop of the church there. There is extant an apocryphal work,
probably of the fifth century, 'Acta et Passio Barnabae' in
Cypro, and still later an Encomium of Barnabas, by a Cyprian man,
Alexander. We have an Epistle in twenty-one chapters called by
the name of Barnabas. Its authenticity has been defended by some
great writers; but it is very generally given up now, and the
Epistle is believed to have been written early in the second
century." (Dictionary of the Bible, William Smith, pp.98-99).


     In a pamphlet published at the monastery of St.Barnabas in
Salamis, Cyprus, written by M. Koumas, the following information

"St.Barnabas, a Cypriot by origin, was the first of the 70
disciples of Our Lord. (Acts o f the Apostles 13:1-34) After that
he visited many countries for the promulgation of the Holy Gospel
but when he returned to Cyprus he was killed this time by the
Jews. Mark secretly buried his holy body in an empty sepulchre
cut from the rock outside Salamis. The tomb was forgotten and
remained unknown up to 477 A.D. In that year St.Barnabas appeared
in a dream to the Archbishop of Constania (Salamis), Anthemios,
and revealed to him the place of his sepulchre beneath a
carob-tree. The following day Anthemios found the tomb and inside
it the remains of St.Barnabas with a manuscript of St.Marks
Gospel on his breast. Anthemios presented the Gospel to the
Byzantine Emperor Zeno at Constantinople and received from him
the privileges of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, that is,
the purple cloak which the Greek Archbishop of Cyprus wears at
the festivals of the church, the imperial sceptre and the red ink
with which he affixes his signature. Anthemios then placed the
venerable remains of St.Barnabas in a magnificent church which he
founded at a distance of about 3 donums to the west of the tomb
which he had found. Part of this first church was discovered as a
result of excavations to the east of the existing church. In one
of its corners a sarcophagus with a hole in the stone slab is
preserved. Anthemios must have placed the remains of St.Barnabas
in this sarcophagus. Next to it, towards the wall, there is
another tomb, in which Anthemios was probably buried after his
death. Both tombs are now empty and no one knows what became of
the body of St.Barnabas." (St.Barnabas, M. Koumas, pamphlet)

(The whole is a false myth, or a false story by the Archbishop of
Constania. Barnabas could not appear to him, as the truth about
death makes that impossible. The Greek and Latin Catholic
churches have many such stories of fantacy within the false
"immortal soul" doctrine - Keith Hunt) 

     An apocryphal document, perhaps dating from the second
century, called "The Recognitions of Clement" mentions that St.
Clement (supposedly the same as the Clement mentioned by St.Paul
in Phil.4:3) claims his first acquaintance with Christianity was
through the preaching of St.Barnabas in Rome. There is no further
confirmation of this fact however. Of this tradition the Church
of Cyprus (Greek Orthodox) stoutly maintains that it was on the
island of Cyprus that Barnabas lived and died. Robin Parker, in
his excellent guidebook, "Aphrodite's Realm," records this rather
well documented historical tradition:

"The Church of Cyprus was founded by the Apostles Paul and
Barnabas in A.D.45. The latter suffered death in his native town
of Salamis during his second mission to the island and was buried
secretly outside the town by his kinsman and companion, St.Mark.
His relics, with a copy of St.Matthew''s Gospel in Barnabas'
handwriting, were discovered by the Archbishop of Cyprus,
Anthemios, during the reign of the Emperor Zeno (474-491).
This discovery helped to secure the independence of the Church of
Cyprus from the assailings of the Church of Antioch which was
then trying to bring it under its jurisdiction. At a specially
convened meeting in Constantinople the Church of Cyprus was
declared 'autocephalous' (self-governing) on account of its
Apostolic foundation, and certain privileges were bestowed on it
by the Emperor himself, among which was the right of the
Archbishop of Cyprus to sign in red ink." ("Aphrodite's Realm,"
Robin Parker, p.13)

     According to Roman Catholic tradition the relics of St.
Barnabas have been widely scattered. His head is said to be in
the church of St.Sernin, Toulouse, France:

"....His body is said to have been buried near the place of his
martyrdom; but in the seventh century, during the Saracen
invasion, his head was taken to Milan and later to Toulouse." ("A
Traveller's Guide to Saints in Europe," Mary Sharp. p.28)

(If it was indeed Barnabas in the first place - Keith Hunt)

     The noted authorities, Conybeare and Howson, make a strong
argument that Barnabas, rather than Paul, was the author of the
book of Hebrews. Taking into account his background in Judaism,
his long Christian ministry, and his association with St.Paul,
this is a very respectable theory. If it is true, then for a time
after Paul's death in Rome, Barnabas may have gone to Rome until
Timothy's release. This would not preclude Barnabas from
returning to Cyprus to die. For a fuller development of this
theory see "The Life and Epistles of St. Paul," Conybeare and
Howson, T. Y. Crowell and Co. 1895, p.718.

(The knowledge and writing of Hebrews is more like Paul, and Paul
was one of the top men in the Judaism religion, making him well
qualified to write such a document as the book of Hebrews. That
book would also make Paul the author of 14 epistles preserved for
us. The number 14 denotes "salvation" and so is fitting that Paul
would have 14 epistles in the New Testament - Keith Hunt)


     Josephus attributes the death of John the Baptist to Herod's
jealousy of his great influence with the people. He says also
that the destruction of Herod's army in the war with Aretas,
which occurred soon after, was generally considered a divine
judgment on the tetrarch for the murder of John. Josephus makes
the place of the Baptist's imprisonment and death the fortress of
Marchaerus (Jos. Antiq. xviii. 5,2). Marchaerus, now called
Mekaur (Mukawer), is situated in the mountains on the east side
of the Dead Sea, about five miles north of the Arnon, and on the
top of a conical hill 3,800 feet above the Dead Sea. The wall of
circumvallation of the old stronghold still remains clearly
traceable, while inside are a deep well and two dungeons. One of
the latter may have been the prison in which John was confined.
John was buried by his disciples.

     An old English poem, author unknown, tells graphically of
the way the sacred relics of John the Baptist were divided and
scattered. The poem is historically quite correct:

"For John the Baptist's head, they say, 
Was broken up in Julian's day.
One bit is in Samaria's town
And two beneath Byzantium's dome, 
And Genoa has half the crown,
The nose and forehead rest in Rome. (St.John the Baptist's
scattered dust, Bring me to kingdoms of the just.)"
(Quoted in "The Coming o f the Saints," J. W. Taylor, p.184.)

     This author has personally seen the top of the skull and the
arm and hand of St.John the Baptist mentioned in the prayer-poem
above. They are kept in golden reliquaries in the Topkapi Museum
in Istanbul. Above the guarded glass case is an inscription,
"Christendom's Most Precious Relics." They are not that of
course, but they are valuable indeed, and from historical records
there is some evidence that they may be genuine, incredible as
that assertion may seem.

(Well I'll take it all with a large grain of salt; it could all
well be false, someone's bones here and there, but they may not
be the bones of any apostle - the Greek and Latin Catholic
churches claim all kinds of relics - relics they may be, but of
any of the apostles - a mighty big question mark I would put over
them - Keith Hunt)

     In the Topkapi Museum are kept the crown jewels of the
Turkish royal families of the past, plus other priceless national
treasures. The reliquaries of St.John the Baptist are prominent
among them. The authoritative guidebook to Istanbul contains the
following notation:

"The Treasury (12)
"Here are exhibited two Byzantine reliquaries, the hand and skull
of St.John the Baptist. These are considered the most valuable
relics of Christendom." ("Tourist's Guide to Istanbul," Hayreddin
Lokmanoglu, p.174)
Apparently "the bit that is in Samaria's town" (see the poem
already quoted) was later transferred to Jerusalem, or at least
has disappeared from Samaria, though one traditional grave of St.
John is still to be seen there.

(All very doubtfull I would say. I do not believe God would have
any parts of the apostles remaining for people to gaze at. More
likely it is a cleaver deception to keep people believing that
the true "church" is the Catholic Greek or Latin churches - Keith
     The Monastery of St.John in Jerusalem may have the portion
of his head that was originally in Samaria. The Superior of the
Monastery has published a guide which tells their claim:

"The Monastery of John the Baptist in Jerusalem has a great
significance from the historical and archaeological points of
view. It contains the most important underground Church dedicated
to the memory of the beheading of St.John the Baptist. The said
Church is cross-shaped and is of Byzantine art (Dickie, The Lower
Church of St.John, Jerusalem, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement in 1899, pp.43-45).

(Very Roman Catholic sounding hoop-ha and deception to blind the
minds of millions as to their being the true Church of God -
Keith Hunt)

"Certain Archaeologists are of the opinion that the Monastery may
date back to the 5th century, and that it was built by Empress
Evdokia, who established many institutions in this country and
therefore they used to call Her 2nd St.Helena. Others believe
that it was erected by Patriarch Ioannis (516-524). This testi-
mony is contained in the 'Kanonarion of Jerusalem' where it is
stated that on the 29th August the memory of the beheading of St.
John the Baptist (prodromos) is celebrated in the Chapel of
Patriarch Ioannis, which was restored by Empress Evdokia and used
to be a Patriarchal Church of Saints Constantine and Helena.
When the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was restored by the
Byzantine Emperors and especially by Constantine Monomachos
(1048) the old underground Church was repaired and the upper
Church was erected. Both Churches were occupied by the Greek
Monks until the conquest of Jerusalem by the Crusaders (1099) who
occupied these two Churches as many similar Churches. After the
expulsion of the legal owners of the Monastery of St.John the
Baptist, the Crusaders turned it to a Hospital and established
therein the Order of St.John the Merciful (Hospitalliers, Freres
de Saint Jean de Jerusalem). When later the Crusaders were driven
out by Saladin, Sultan of Egypt, (1187), the said Monastery was
delivered again to the Greek Monks.
In 1890 the ancient underground Church was discovered by the late
Archimandrite Efthymois, Guardian of the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre, when he built the Hostel of St.John. On the Holy Altar
was found a reliquary containing a piece of the Holy Cross and
relies of St.John, Apostle Peter, and other Apostles." ("Short
History o f the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist," Greek
Orthodox Patriarchate, [pamphlet] Jerusalem)

(Again, the deceptive claims of the Catholic church. They have
all kinds of this or that belonging to this or that apostle or
even Christ Himself, i.e bits of the cross etc. - Keith Hunt)

     While the relics are not described in this leaflet, it is
evident from this writer's personal observation that a portion of
the skull has been acquired. It is on display in the chapel and
was declared, to this writer, to have been found about 100 years
ago, according to the presiding Greek Orthodox priest who
graciously allowed it to be photographed.

(A bunch of Catholic hog-wash I would say. It helps to keep the
deceived blinded as to the falsehoods of the Greek and Roman
Catholic churches - Keith Hunt)

     There are also other claims in Jerusalem by the Armenian
Patriarchate relative to their possession of a reliquary
containing another arm of St.John besides the one in Istanbul. It
is a listing in the catalogue of their valuables:

"60. Reliquary--arm of St. John the Baptist 
Restored in 1704; origin: Monastery of Kdouts. 
Silver, gilt; ancient piece of work. According 
to tradition this part of the relic was brought 
from Caesarea in Cappodocia by St.Gregory 
the Enlightener.
Height: 40 cm
In the Treasury of St.James."
("Treasures of the Armenian Patriarchate o f Jerusalem," p.37)

(More false fairy-fluff, to my mind, from the Greek and/or Roman
Catholic churches. God would not have the true remains of His
apostles looked after by the Babylon Woman Whore church of
Revelation - Keith Hunt)


     We are indebted to the late Dr.A.T.Robertson for the
following succinct biography of Luke:

"The legend that Luke was one of the Seventy sent out by Jesus
(Epiphanies, Haer., ii. 51,11) is pure conjecture, as is the
story that Luke was one of the Greeks who came to Philip for an
introduction to Jesus (John 12:20f), or the companion of Cleopas
in the walk to Emmaus (Luke 24:13). The clear implication of Luke
1:2 is that Luke himself was not an eyewitness of the ministry of
In Col.4:14 Luke is distinguished by Paul from those 'of the
circumcision' (Aristarchus, Mark, Jesus Justus). Epaphras, Luke,
Demas from the Gentile group. He was believed by the early
Christian writers to have come directly from heathendom to
Christianity. He may or may not have been a Jewish proselyte. His
first appearance with Paul at Troas (cf the 'we' - sections, Acts
16:10-12) is in harmony with this idea. The classic introduction
to the Gospel (1:1-4) shows that he was a man of culture (cf
Apollos and Paul). He was a man of the schools, and his Greek had
a literary flavor only approached in the New Testament by Paul's
writings and by the Epistle to the Hebrews.
His home is very uncertain. The text of D (Cordex Bezae) and
several Latin authorities have a 'we-passage' in Acts 11:27. If
this reading, the so-called B text of Blass, is the original,
then Luke was at Antioch and may have been present at the great
event recorded in Acts 12:1f. But it is possible that the Western
text is an interpolation. At any rate, it is not likely that Luke
is the same person as Lucius of Acts 13:1. Ramsay ("St.Paul the
Traveller," 389f) thinks that Eusebius (HE, III, iv, 6) does not
mean to say that Luke was a native of Antioch, but only that he
had Antiochian family connections. Jerome calls him Lucas medicus
Antichensis. He certainly shows an interest in Antioch (cf Acts
11:19-27; 13:1; 14:26; 14:22,23,30,35; 18:22). Antioch, of
course, played a great part in the early work of Paul. Other
stories make Luke live in Alexandria and Achaia and narrate that
he died in Achaia or Bithynia. But we know that he lived in
Philippi for a considerable period. He first meets Paul at Troas
just before the vision of the Man from Macedonia (Acts 16:10-12),
and a conversation with Paul about the work in Macedonia may well
have been the human occasion of that vision and call. Luke
remains in Philippi when Paul and Silas leave (Acts 16:40, 'They
... departed'). He is here when Paul comes back on his 3d tour
bound for Jerusalem (Acts 20:3-5). He shows also a natural pride
in the claims of Philippi to the primacy in the province, as
against Amphipolis and Thessalonica (Acts 16:12, 'the first of
the district'). On the whole, then, we may consider Philippi as
the home of Luke, though he was probably a man who had traveled a
great deal, and may have been with Paul in Galatia before coming
to Troas. He may have ministered to Paul in his sickness there.
(Gal.4:14). His later years were spent chiefly with Paul away
from Philippi (cf Acts 20:3-28.31, on the way to Jerusalem at
Caesarea, the voyage to Rome and in Rome).
Paul (Col.4:14) expressly calls him 'the beloved physician.' He
was Paul's medical adviser, and doubtless prolonged his life and
rescued him from many a serious illness. He was a medical
missionary, and probably kept up his general practice of medicine
in connection with his work in Rome (cf Zahn, Intro., III, 1). He
probably practised medicine in Malta (Acts 28:9f ). He naturally
shows his fondness for medical terms in his books (cf Hobart,
"The Medical Language of St.Luke" Harnack, NT Studies: Luke the
Physician, 175-98).
It is possible, even probable (see Souter's article in DCG ),
that in 2 Cor.8:18 'the brother' is equivalent to 'the brother'
of Titus just mentioned, that is, 'his brother.' If so we should
know that Paul came into contact with Luke at Philippi on his way
to Corinth during his 2nd tour (cf also 2 Cor.12:18). It would
thus be explained why in Acts the name of Titus does not occur,
since he is the brother of Luke the author of the book.
If the reading of D in Acts 11:27f is correct, Luke met Paul at
Antioch before the 1st missionary tour. Otherwise it may not have
been till Troas on the 2d tour. But he is the more or less
constant companion of Paul, from Philippi on the return to
Jerusalem on the 3d tour till the 2 years in Rome at the close of
the Acts. He apparently was not with Paul when Phil.(2:20) was
written, though, as we have seen, he was with Paul in Rome when
he wrote Col. and Philem. He was Paul's sole companion for a
while during the 2d Rome imprisonment (2 Tim.4:11). His devotion
to Paul in this time of peril is beautiful.
One legend regarding Luke is that he was a painter. Plummer
(Comm. on Luke, xxif) thinks that the legend is older than is
sometimes supposed and that it has a strong element of truth. It
is true that he has drawn vivid scenes with his pen. The early
artists were especially fond of painting scenes from the Gospel
of Luke. The allegorical figure of the ox or calf in Ezk.1 and
Rev.4 has been applied to Luke's Gospel.
Literature. - Bible diets., comms., lives of Paul, intros. See
also Harnack, 'Lukas, der Arzt, der Verfasser' (1906); NT
Studies: Luke the Physician (1907); Ramsay, Luke the Physician
(1908); Selwyn, St.Luke the Prophet (1901); Hobart, The Medical
Language of St.Luke (1882); Ramsay, Was Christ Born at Bethlehem?
A Study in the Credibility of St.Luke (1898); Maclachlan, St.
John, Evangelist and Historian (1912)." (International Standard
Bible Encyclopaedia, Dr.A.T.Robertson, p.1936)

     The Catholic scholar, Rev. J. A. Fitzmyer illuminates the
style of the writings of St.Luke:

"A tradition that can be traced back to Irenaeus (c.185) regards
Luke as the author of the third Gospel. This attribution was
probably also known to Justin in the middle of the 2nd century.
The Muratorian canon ascribes both the third Gospel and Acts to
Luke. The Lucian authorship of both books is generally (though
not universally) accepted by modern scholars.
Luke belonged to cultivated Hellenistic circles, where he learned
to write with ease good idiomatic Greek. His writings betray an
acquaintance with the historical method of his day, and the
'Semitisms' that shine through his Greek style of the latter is
at times surprising. He was a perceptive, sensitive writer with a
knack for telling a story and depicting a scene, and his Gospel
has been described as 'the most beautiful book' ever written. His
two books constitute the earliest history of the Christian
The Anti-Marcionite Prologue records that Luke wrote his Gospel
in Greece, was not married and died in Boeotia (or Bithynia?) at
the age of 84. But further details about his life come from
either later traditions or legends." (Encyclopaedia Britannica,
Rev.Joseph Augustine Fitzmyer, S.J., p.475-76)


     Catholic tradition is summarized by Mary Sharp: "Accounts
differ as to the manner of his death; some say that he died
peacefully in Boeotia and others that he was crucified with St.
Andrew at Patras or at Elaea in Peloponnesus. In 356-357
Constantius II had his relics taken from Thebes in Boeotia to
Constantinople and placed in the Church of the Apostles which was
built soon afterwards. Later his head is said to have been taken
to Rome where it is interred in St.Peter's Basilica." ("A
Traveller's Guide to Saints in Europe," Mary Sharp, p.144)

(Once more, probably Roman Catholic deceptive hog-wash, to
deceive the many into following the RC church as the true Church
of God - Keith Hunt)

     In 1685 Dorman Newman spoke with assurance that at that

"Luke is buried in Constantinople in that great and famous church
dedicated to the memory of the Apostles." ("Lives and Deaths of
the Holy Apostles," Dorman Newman,1685)

(Probably more deceptive ideas flowing from the Greek Catholic
church - Keith Hunt)

     St.Jerome confirms this:

"He was buried at Constantinople to which city, in the twentieth
year of Constantius, his bones, together with the remains of
Andrew, the Apostle, were transferred." (The Nicene and
Post-Nicene Fathers, p.364)

(Jerome was Roman Catholic; I would take nothing about any of the
apostles of Christ as truth from either the Roman or Greek
Catholic churches - Keith Hunt)

     The author has visited Thebes in central Greece where,
inside a cemetery church one can still see the original grave of
St.Luke. It is a typical Roman sarcophagus carved in white
pentellic marble from the not too distant marble quarries which
are still being used today. In the church where this sarcophagus
is found there are many signs, inscriptions and mementoes
confirming that it was indeed in this ancient Greek cemetery that
St.Luke was first buried. However, those in charge of the church
do not seem to know about the fact that the body was transported
to Constantinople in the fourth century.

(I guess not, for it is no doubt all fantacy and cunning tales to
deceive the hundreds of millions - Keith Hunt)

     In Rome the head of St.Luke is interred in a high altar
facing the central altar which stands over the grave of St.
Peter. Little attention is paid to it since its eminence is
dimmed by the more widely publicized remains of St.Peter and
other Apostles resting nearby.

(All bones and relics of someone other than the apostles of
Christ. The whore Babylon church, drunk with the blood of the
saints, as Revelation paints her, would not be given any relics
from the true apostles and saints of God. Maybe this is all
interesting, but it is still deception at its best, when it comes
to the Roman and Greek Catholic churches - Keith Hunt)


To be continued

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