|The present series of stamps is issued to commemorate the 1900th anniversary of the death of Saint Barnabas, a Cypriot by origin who was the first of the 70 disciples of Our Lord (Acts 4, 31-37). In 45 A.D. he came to Cyprus with St. Paul and St. Mark the Evangelist and they preached the Holy Gospel in Salamis and other parts of the island (Acts 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 by some fanatic Jews. Mark secretly buried his holy body in an empty sepulchre cut from the rock outside Salamis.|
The tomb was forgotten and remained unknown until 478 A.D. In that year St. Barnabas appeared in a dream to the Archbishop of Constantia (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. Matthew's Gospel on his breast. Anthemios presented the Gospel to the Byzantine Emperor Zeno at Constantinople and received from his the privileges of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, that is, the purple cloak which the Greek Archbishop of Cyprus wears at 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 100 metres 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 non one knows what has become of these venerable ecclesiastical gems or where they are actually to be found.
Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.