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.