Witnesses to the Resurrection: St Bartholomew

By Jordan Grantham, Eastertide 2017
The Martyrdom of St Bartholomew, Jose di Rebera. Image: Diocese of Parramatta

Name: St Bartholomew

Death: Armenia? Arabian peninsular?

Feast Day: August 24

Patronage: Armenia, Plasterers, Nervous diseases

Shrines: Basilica of St Bartholomew, Benevento; Basilica of St Bartholomew on the Island, Rome.

The interior of the Basilica of St Bartholomew, Tiber Island. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Life story and Scripture:

St Bartholomew was born in Cana and lead to Christ by St Philip.

“Bartholomew” is a last name, meaning ‘Son of Tholomai’. St Bartholomew is the only Apostle in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke to not be referred to with his first name.

St Bartholomew is traditionally identified to be the same person as Nathaniel. The Gospel of St John introduces the first name “Nathaniel”, which is new to the Gospels, as one of the Twelve.

Little is known about the life of St Bartholomew, if he is not the same person as Nathaniel.

Church Fathers:

Tradition holds that St Bartholomew preached the Gospel in India, as recorded by Eusebius and St Jerome. The ancients referred to Yemen and Ethiopia as India, as well, which casts some doubt on the exact location he died.

According to tradition, he was skinned alive (flayed) and then crucified upside down in Armenia.

The Basilica of St Bartholomew, Tiber Island, Rome. Image: Wikimedia Commons.


With thanks to Rev Dr Paul Stenhouse MSC, Whatever happened to the twelve apostles? (2006, Chevalier Press)

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