Saint Bartholomew, Apostle and Martyr

Saint John with Saint Bartholomew (right)

August 24 is the feast of St. Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles who is mentioned only a few times in the Synoptic Gospels. While Matthew, Mark, and Luke all include Bartholomew as an apostle, John's gospel does not mention him, but refers to a Nathaniel, whom ancient writers and Catholic tradition have identified as Bartholomew. The name (Bartholomaios) means "son of Talmai" which was an ancient Hebrew name.

He carried the Gospel through the most barbarous countries of the East (India and greater Armenia), baptizing neophytes and casting out demons. Saint Pantænus testified that Bartholomew brought a copy of the Gospel of Saint Matthew to this vast region in the third century. Saint John Chrysostom said that Bartholomew also preached in Asia Minor and, with Saint Philip, suffered there for the faith. Saint Bartholomew’s last mission was in Armenia, where he was martyred. The manner of his death is uncertain. Some report that he was beheaded, while others recount that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward.

Bartholomew is the patron saint of: bookbinders, butchers, furriers, leather-workers, plasterers, shoemakers, tailors, tanners, vine-growers, Florentine salt and cheese merchants. He is also invoked against nervous disorders and tics.


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