The Apostle Barnabas Cathedral in Nicosia is dedicated to St. Barnabas, the patron saint of Cyprus. According to Christian tradition, St. Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew who was one of the earliest Christian missionaries and a companion of St. Paul. He is believed to have been martyred on the island of Cyprus in the 1st century AD.
Saint Barnabas, also known as Barnabas the Apostle, was one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem. He was born in Cyprus, but his family was of Jewish descent. His name was Joseph, but he was later given Barnabas, which means "son of encouragement."
Barnabas was a prominent member of the early Christian community in Jerusalem and was one of the few who both the Jewish and Gentile believers trusted. He was known for his generosity, kindness, and encouragement to others, and he played an essential role in spreading the Christian faith.
In the book of Acts in the New Testament, Barnabas is described as a companion of the Apostle Paul on his first missionary journey. The two travelled together to various cities, including Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, preaching the Gospel and establishing Christian communities.
Barnabas was later sent by the church in Jerusalem to Antioch, where he worked with Paul to establish a thriving Christian community. He is credited with bringing Paul into the fold and helping to integrate him into the Christian community.
Despite his many contributions to the early Christian church, Barnabas is not mentioned as frequently as other apostles in the New Testament. However, his legacy has endured through the centuries, and he is still venerated as a saint in many Christian denominations.
The cathedral was first built in the 18th century by the Ottoman governor of Cyprus, Hassan Pasha, who converted a former Byzantine church into a mosque. After the British took control of Cyprus in the late 19th century, the mosque was converted into a Christian church dedicated to St. Barnabas.
Over the years, the cathedral has undergone several renovations and additions. In the 1930s, a new bell tower was added, and in the 1970s, a new apse was built. In the early 2000s, the cathedral underwent a major renovation that included the restoration of its frescoes, the installation of a new roof, and the reconstruction of its northern and southern walls.
For the local people of Nicosia, the Apostle Barnabas Cathedral is an important religious and cultural landmark. It symbolises the island's rich Christian heritage and is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists. The recent renovations have helped to preserve the cathedral's historic character and ensure that it will continue to be an essential part of Nicosia's cultural landscape for years to come.