The name of the Apostle St. Bartholomew is included among the lists of the Twelve Apostles, but aside from this, there’s no mention of him in the New Testament. Many scholars feel he is the same man as Nathaniel, whom St. John’s Gospel has Jesus describing as “an Israelite in whom there is no guile” (Jn 1:45).
Bartholomew initially doubted the possibility of the Messiah coming from Nazareth, but upon meeting Jesus he immediately declared Him to be “the Son of God and the King of Israel” (Jn 1:49). Early Church legends describe Bartholomew as having preached the gospel in India and Armenia, where he supposedly suffered martyrdom by being flayed alive; the historical value of these legends is open to question.
St. Bartholomew is in a sense the “unknown Apostle,” and for this reason, he can serve as a patron saint for almost all of us. Most of us will never become famous or important in the eyes of the world, but this matters little; all of us are perfectly known, and infinitely important, in the eyes of God. The simple, everyday lives we lead can, if we offer them to God, become ways of helping bring about His Kingdom. St. Bartholomew isn’t as well known as Peter, John, Thomas, or some of the other Apostles; what matters is that he responded wholeheartedly to God’s call.
Other Saints We Remember Today
Our Lady, Health of the Sick