Saint Bartholomew the Apostle

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“Can anything good ever come out of Nazareth?”
This is certainly a question for the ages and St. Bartholomew the Apostle asked it in the first century; when he heard his friend, St. Philip, speak about the Messiah from Nazareth.
There is not much known of St. Bartholomew, he only appears in the gospel occasionally. We do know that he was born, in the first century of Hebrew descent, the son of Tolmai, in the Province of Iudaca.
Although a non-believer, St. Bartholomew often known as Nathaniel accepted the invitation of St. Philip to meet Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus immediately recognized St. Bartholomew “as a man in whom there is no deception.” Jesus told Bartholomew that before Philip had introduced them, he had seen him under the fig tree, apparently a Jewish term for studying the Torah. St. Bartholomew was said to have been very well liked among the apostles and very inquisitive. He constantly barraged Jesus with questions about God, angels and mysteries.
Jesus promised him “Amen, Amen, I say to you, you will see the heavens open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
St. Bartholomew finally recognized Jesus as the King of Israel and accepted him as the Son of God. He joined the chosen ones as the sixth apostle.
Bartholomew and the eleven others were together in Bethany at Mount Olive, forty days after the resurrection to witness the Ascension.
After the Ascension, Bartholomew traveled to Ethiopia, India, Persia and Armenia. He is reputed to have spread Christianity to the East, leaving copies of the gospel of Matthew as he went.
Among his hundreds of converts, were the King of Armenia, Polymius, and many of his subjects. This met with disapproval of the King’s brother, Astyages, who immediately sentenced Bartholomew to death. He died a martyr’s death, as did so many of the apostles, by being flayed alive and beheaded. This is why we see him represented in Michelangelo’s painting of “The Last Judgment” in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. He is holding a knife in one hand and the skin of his body in the other.
St. Bartholomew is the Patron Saint of tanners and we celebrate his Feast Day on August 24th.

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