24th August - St. Bartholomew's Day

Written by Anne Newman - 25th August 2020

St. Bartholomew, a doctor in the Jewish law, was a dear friend of St. Philip the Apostle.

In St. John's Gospel, Bartholomew is known by the name Nathaniel (the liturgy does not always seem aware of this identity). He hailed from Cana in Galilee, was one of the first disciples called by the Lord. On that initial meeting Jesus uttered the glorious compliment:

"Behold, an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile!"

After the Resurrection he was favoured by becoming one of the few apostles who witnessed the appearance of the risen Saviour on the Sea of Galilee (John 21:2).

Because Bartholomew was a man "in whom there was no guile," his mind was open to the truth. He went willingly with Philip to see Christ, and recognised the Saviour immediately as the Son of God. Following the Ascension he is said to have preached in Greater Armenia , Asia Minor, and northwestern India. When he was in Greater Armenia preaching to idolaters, he was arrested and condemned to death. While still alive, his skin was torn from his body.

St. Bartholomew's holy body was first taken to the island of Lipari (north of Sicily), then to Benevento, and finally his relics to Rome in the Church of St. Bartholomew-on-the-Tiber, or San Bartolomeo all'Isola (St. Bartholomew's on the Island), where it is honoured by the faithful with pious devotion.

His Symbols: Flaying or tanner's knife and book; three vertical flaying or tanner's knives; human skin; human skin on a cross; devil under his feet; St. Matthew's Gospel; scimitar; cross. He is often portrayed as an elderly man holding a tanner's knife and a human skin; skinless man holding his own skin.

St. Bartholomew is Patron of bookbinders; butchers; cobblers; Florentine cheese merchants; Florentine salt merchants; leather workers; nervous diseases; neurological diseases; plasterers; shoemakers; tanners; trappers; twitching; whiteners; Gambatesa, Italy; The Armenians honour him as the apostle of their nation.

St Bartholomew's Bun Race for children takes place around the chapel of St. Bartholomew's Hospital In Sandwich, Kent, England.

Each participant receives a currant bun, while the attendants are each given a St Bart's Biscuit, which has an imprint of the hospital's ancient seal.

--- oOo ---

Anne is sharing a series of events throughout the year - you can find them listed by clicking to the link Other Notable Dates and Festivals.