by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
Today is the Solemnity of St. Bartholomew, Apostle of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He is mentioned in the Gospels under his proper name, which was Nathaniel. Bartholomew was his surname or nick name. It means, “Son of Talmai”, who was the wife of King David.
He is listed as an apostle 4 times in the New Testament: Matthew 10:3 ; Mark 3:18 ; Luke 6:14 ), and seventh in the list of Acts (1:13) . And St. John the Evangelist was evidently on familiar terms with him, because he always calls him by his first name: Nathaniel (John 1:45-51 ; 21:2)
Bartholomew is the Apostle whom was recruited by St. Philip, the Apostle, as the Gospel of St. John records in its very first chapter:
43 On the morrow he would go forth into Galilee, and Jesus finds Philip, and says to him, Follow me. 44 And Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip finds Nathanael, and says to him, We have found him of whom Moses wrote in the law, and the prophets, Jesus, the son of Joseph, who is from Nazareth. 46 And Nathanael said to him, Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Philip says to him, Come and see. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and says of him, Behold [one] truly an Israelite, in whom there is no guile. 48 Nathanael says to him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee. 49 Nathanael answered and said to him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered and said to him, Because I said to thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these. 51 And he says to him, Verily, verily, I say to you, Henceforth ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man.
We know from a later moment in the life of Our Lord, that Sts. Philip and Nathaniel (Bartholemew) were the ones to bring the Greek speaking converts to Our Lord. According to the Fathers of the Church this was because these two Apostles spoke fluent Greek. And this may explain by Nathaniel went by the name Bartholemew), because the name Nathaniel, containing the name of God, -El, would be used more discretely by only his Jewish friends.
After the Resurrection of Our Lord, he preached the gospel in many lands: India, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, Armenia, Lycaonia, Phrygia, and on the shores of the Black Sea. He was martyred in Armenia, by the pagan king, for the crime of converting his brother to Christianity. As such St. Bartholomew is the patron protector of the Armenian People.
His relics are conserved now a days in the Cathedral of Benevento and in his Church here at Rome, in the Island on the Tiber River.
I had the grace to find his Church open, this morning, and took these photos for you. Here is the front facade of the Church. You can see the pilgrims gathered waiting for it to open. Thankfully, St. Bartholemew inspired me arrive at just the right moment, because I only had to wait 2 minutes!
Then, as I was the first to enter the Church, when it opened, I was able to get this unobstructed view of its magnificence:
Then, as I approached the high altar, I stopped to take this photo of the ancient Baptistry featuring a medieval carving of the Saint:
Then, I turned my camera to the High Altar, which contains a huge sarcophagus with the Saints relics, and a beautiful Golden Bust, containing some smaller pieces of his skeleton:
Then, to get a better view, I took this foto of the bust, from a side angle…
As it was his feast day, two candles were lit in his honor. I offered the Saint a hearty prayer for all of you, especially for all who are being threatened with death by the Vaxx by the godless Globalists.