Paul and Barnabas on Cyprus

Rev. Tony Cooke

In August of 2023, Lisa and I had the privilege of visiting Cyprus for a few days. While there, we did some exploring… visiting the places where Paul and Barnabas first stepped on to and off the island on the first leg of their first missionary journey. Having been sent out from Antioch, this was a logical place for them to come as it was relatively close and because it was Barnabas’ home country (Acts 4:36).

Acts 13:4-5

4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John [Mark] as their assistant.

Below are pictures of the ruins of ancient Salamis, the hometown of Barnabas, and his nearby sarcophagus.

When Paul and Barnabas had their painful split, Scripture says that “Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus” (Acts 15:39). While Mark eventually left Cyprus and worked with both Peter and Paul, tradition says that Barnabas stayed on the Island of Cyprus and pastored there until his death.

Meanwhile, back to Paul and Barnabas trekking across Cyrpus…

Acts 13:6-13

6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord. 13 Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos…

Below are pictures from the archaeological site of ancient Paphos.

When Paul and Barnabas left Paphos, Cyprus, they sailed north to what today is the nation of Turkey. This is when John Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13), but Paul and Barnabas continued with their ministry in the cities of the Galatia.

Maps used by permission of Sweet Publishing /