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St. Barnabas, born of a Jewish family in Salamis, returns
to Cyprus after his studies in Jerusalem and in 45 A.D. starts
to work with St. Paul as a missionary for Christianity.
Because of his activities he is killed by his compatriots and
his corpse is hidden in a marsh, later to be deposited into the
The followers of St. Barnabas watch the events; they
take the corpse to an underground cave to the West of
Salamis and bury it there after putting a copy of the Bible
made by St. Mathews on his chest. The corpse remains hidden
for many years as its whereabouts is known to noone.
Anthemios says he has seen the grave in his dream,
and has the place dug. When the grave is opened, St. Barnabas
can be identified because of the St. Mathews Bible. After this incident, the bishop goes to Istanbul to inform
Emperor Zeno, and gains the autonomy of the Cyprus Church. The emperor makes a donation for a monastery to be built at the
location of the grave. The monastery constructed in 477 A.D.,
consists of a church, a courtyard, and living quarters for priests. The St. Barnabas church has a rich collection of icons mostly
dating from the 18th century.
The basalt mill in the courtyard is
from the Enkomi settlement and the other columns and stones
are from Salamis.
The rooms where the priests lived have
been restored and turned into an archaelogical museum.
It is possible to see a variety of works of art from a wide
range of historical spectrum from the Neolithic Period to
the Roman period. Bronze and marble pieces are also
being exhibited at the museum.