at prayer

St. Bartholomew
St Bartholomew
Feast Day 24 August
Martyred date unknown

One of the twelve Apostles in the Synoptic Gospels, he is said to have brought Christianity to Armenia in the Ist century where he was eventually martyred. Tradition holds that he was flayed alive and then crucified upside down by King Astyages. Paintings often represent him with a large knife in his hand and his skin hanging over his arm.

His body is said to have been thrown into the sea and washed ashore on Lipari, an island off the coast of Sicily where a large piece of his skin and many bones are kept in the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew the Apostle. Some of his skull is in Frankfurt, there is an arm in Canterbury Cathedral and other relics are preserved in the church of St. Bartholomew-in-the-Island, Rome.

During one of the many times the island was invaded, the invaders discovered the gold and silver statue of the saint in the cathedral and ordered it to be melted down. When they weighed it, it was found to weigh only a few ounces, so presumably hollow and not worth the effort and they returned it. It actually weighs several tons.

There is a fragment of a Gospel of Bartholomew but it is apocryphal and was condemned as heretical.

Patron saint of tanners and leather workers.