St. Bartholomew, 1st. century, one of the 12.
All that is known of him with certainty is that he is mentioned in the synoptic gospels and Acts as one of the twelve apostles. His name, a patronymic, means “son of Tolomai” and scholars believe he is the same as Nathanael mentioned in John, who says he is from Cana and that Jesus called him an “Israelite…incapable of deceit.” The Roman Martyrology says he preached in India and Greater Armenia, where he was flayed and beheaded by King Astyages. Tradition has the place as Abanopolis on the west coast of the Caspian Sea and that he also preached in Mesopotamia, Persia, and Egypt. The Gospel ofBartholomew is apochryphal and was condemned in the decree of Pseudo-Gelasius. Feast Day August 24.
More about St. Bartholomew from Wikipedia
Bartholomew (Greek: Βαρθολομαῖος Bartholomaíos, Latin: Bartholomaeus) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He has been identified with Nathanael (alternatively spelled Nathaniel), who appears in the Gospel according to John as being introduced to Christ by Philip (who would also become an apostle),[Jn 1:43-51] although some modern commentators reject the identification of Nathanael with Bartholomew.
According to the Synaxarium of the Coptic Orthodox Church, his martyrdom is commemorated on the first day of the Coptic Calendar (i.e. the first day of the month of Thout), which currently falls on September 11 (corresponding to August 29 in the Julian Calendar). His feast is June 11 in Eastern Christianity and August 24 in the Anglican Communion and both forms of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.
Bartholomew (Greek: Βαρθολομαῖος, transliterated “Bartholomaios”) comes from the Aramaic bar-Tôlmay(בר-תולמי), meaning son of Talmai or son of the furrows (perhaps a ploughman). Bartholomew was born at Cana of Galilee and is listed among the Twelve Apostles of Jesus in the three Synoptic gospels:Matthew,[10:1–4] Mark,[3:13–19] and Luke,[6:12–16] and also appears as one of the witnesses of theAscension[Acts 1:4,12,13]; on each occasion, however, he is named in the company of Philip. He is not mentioned by the name Bartholomew in the Gospel of John, nor are there any early acta, the earliest being written by a pseudepigraphical writer who assumed the identity of Abdias of Babylon and to whom is attributed the Saint-Thierry Manuscript and Pseudo-Abdias Manuscripts.
- 1 New Testament references
- 2 Tradition
- 2.1 Mission to India
- 2.2 In Armenia
- 3 Bartholomew’s relics
- 4 Miracles
- 5 In Islamic literature
- 6 Art and literature
- 7 Culture
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Sources
- 11 External links
New Testament references
In the East, where Bartholomew’s evangelical labours were expended, he was identified as Nathanael, in works by Abdisho bar Berika (often known as Ebedjesu in the West), the 14th century Nestorian metropolitan of Soba (city), and Elias, the bishop of Damascus. Nathanael is mentioned only in theGospel according to John. In the Synoptic gospels, Philip and Bartholomew are always mentioned together, while Nathanael is never mentioned; in John’s gospel, on the other hand, Philip and Nathanael are similarly mentioned together. Giuseppe Simone Assemani specifically remarks, “the Chaldeansconfound Bartholomew with Nathaniel”. Some Biblical scholars reject this identification, however.
Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History (5:10) states that after the Ascension, Bartholomew went on a missionary tour to India, where he left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew. Other traditions record him as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, and Lycaonia. Popular traditions and legends say that Bartholomew preached the Gospel in India, then went to Greater Armenia.
Mission to India
Two ancient testimonies exist about the mission of Saint Bartholomew in India. These are of Eusebius of Caesarea (early 4th century) and of Saint Jerome (late 4th century). Both these refer to this tradition while speaking of the reported visit of Pantaenus to India in the 2nd century. The studies of Fr A.C. Perumalil SJ and Moraes hold that the Bombay region on the Konkan coast, a region which may have been known as the ancient city Kalyan, was the field of Saint Bartholomew’s missionary activities.
Along with his fellow apostle Jude Thaddeus, Bartholomew is reputed to have brought Christianityto Armenia in the 1st century. Thus, both saints are considered the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
He is said to have been martyred in Albanopolis in Armenia. According to one account, he wasbeheaded, but a more popular tradition holds that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward. He is said to have converted Polymius, the king of Armenia, to Christianity. Astyages, Polymius’ brother, consequently ordered Bartholomew’s execution.
The 13th century Saint Bartholomew Monastery was a prominent Armenian monastery constructed at the site of the martyrdom of Apostle Bartholomew in theVaspurakan Province of Greater Armenia (now in southeastern Turkey).
The 6th-century writer in Constantinople, Theodorus Lector, averred that in about 507 Emperor Anastasius gave the body of Bartholomew to the city of Dura-Europos, which he had recently re-founded. The existence of relics at Lipari, a small island off the coast of Sicily, in the part of Italy controlled from Constantinople, was explained by Gregory of Tours by his body having miraculously washed up there: a large piece of his skin and many bones that were kept in the Cathedral of St Bartholomew the Apostle, Lipari, were translated to Beneventoin 838, where they are still kept now in Basilica of San Bartolomeo. A small part of the relics was given in 983 byHoly Roman Emperor Otto II to Rome where it is conserved at the basilica of San Bartolomeo all’Isola. In time, the church there inherited an old pagan medical centre. This association with medicine in course of time caused Bartholomew’s name to become associated with medicine and hospitals. Some of Bartholomew’s skull was transferred to the Frankfurt Cathedral, while an arm was venerated in Canterbury Cathedral.
Of the many miracles performed by Bartholomew before and after his death, two very popular ones are known by the townsfolk of the small island of Lipari.
The people of Lipari celebrated his feast day annually. The tradition of the people was to take the solid silver and gold statue from inside the Cathedral of St Bartholomew and carry it through the town. On one occasion, when taking the statue down the hill towards the town, it suddenly became very heavy and had to be set down. When the men carrying the statue regained their strength, they lifted it a second time. After another few seconds, it got even heavier. They set it down and attempted once more to pick it up. They managed to lift it but had to put it down one last time. Within seconds, walls further downhill collapsed. If the statue had been able to be lifted, all the towns people would have been killed.
During World War II, the Fascist regime looked for ways to finance their activities. The order was given to take the silver statue of St Bartholomew and melt it down. The statue was weighed, and it was found to be only a few grams. It was returned to its place in the Cathedral of Lipari. In reality, the statue is made from many kilograms of silver and it is considered a miracle that it was not melted down.
St Bartholomew is credited with many other miracles having to do with the weight of objects.
In Islamic literature
The Qur’an also mentions Jesus’s disciples but does not give their names, referring to them as “helpers to the work of God”. Muslim exegesis and Qur’an commentary, however, names them and includes Bartholomew amongst the disciples.
Art and literature
Christian tradition has three stories about Bartholomew’s death: “One speaks of his being kidnapped, beaten unconscious, and cast into the sea to drown. Another account states that he was crucified upside down, and another says that he was skinned alive and beheaded in Albac or Albanopolis”, nearBaşkale, Turkey.
The account of Bartholomew being skinned alive is the most represented in works of art, and consequently Bartholomew is often shown with a large knife, holding his own skin (as in Michelangelo’sLast Judgment), or both. In Avezzano, in Abruzzo the image of the Saint who is holding his own skin has become the symbol of the city. Archaeological research has shown that the cult of Saint Bartholomew began in Avezzano, because the previous presence of a temple dedicated to Heracles, which is always represented in the act of holding the skin of the Nemean Lion. There is, therefore, a solid relationship between the two iconographies and the re-semantization of the symbols Heracles/Physical Strength/Hero and Bartholomew/Power of Faith/Hero-Martyr. Bartholomew is also the patron saint of tanners.
Bartholomew plays a part in Francis Bacon’s Utopian tale New Atlantis, about a mythical isolated land, Bensalem, populated by a people dedicated to reason and natural philosophy. Some twenty years after the ascension of Christ the people of Bensalem found an ark floating off their shore. The ark contained a letter as well as the books of the Old and New Testaments. The letter was from Bartholomew the Apostle and declared that an angel told him to set the ark and its contents afloat. Thus the scientists of Bensalem received the revelation of the Word of God.
In recent days especially, depictions of the saint have found daunting new forms, such as Damien Hirst’s bronze statue (2006) or the large-scale painting by Aris Kalaizis, created in confrontation with the relic and the depictions of St. Bartholomew at Frankfurt Cathedral.
St. Bartholomew displaying his flayed skin in Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment.
Statue of St. Bartholomew, with his own skin, by Marco d’Agrate, 1562 (Duomo di Milano)
Statue of St. Bartholomew at theArchbasilica of St. John Lateranby Pierre Le Gros the Younger.
The festival in August has been a traditional occasion for markets and fairs, such as the Bartholomew Fairheld in Smithfield, London since the Middle Ages, which served as the scene for Ben Jonson’shomonymous comedy.