Saint Bartholomew is one of the twelve apostles. “Bartholomew” means “son of Tholomaeus.” He is mentioned by name once in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as in the Acts of the Apostles. Although he is not mentioned often, he is still one of the apostles that spent all that time with Jesus and eventually was sent out into the world to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything...” (Mt 28:19-20). It is held that St. Bartholomew had another name, Nathanael. This is why the gospel reading on St. Bartholomew’s feast day is Nathaniel becoming a follower of Jesus. In this scene we have St. Philip the Apostle telling Nathanael about Jesus. Nathanael (St. Bartholomew) and Jesus then have a conversation.
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, "Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him." Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree." Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this." And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." -John 1:47-51
We do not know much about his life. He is believed to have traveled to Armenia, India, Ethiopia, and other regions to share the apostolic faith and build up Christ’s kingdom. St. Bartholomew was martyred by being skinned alive and then beheaded.
Eusebius of the early Church provides us with one additional fact about our saint. He wrote,
Pantænus was one of these and is said to have gone to India. It is reported that among persons there who knew of Christ, he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had anticipated his own arrival. For Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached to them, and left with them the writing of Matthew in the Hebrew language, which they had preserved till that time. -Church History 5.10
His feast day is August 24. The liturgical color for his feast is red, the color of the blood of the martyrs. Saint Bartholomew, Pray for us.