Bartholomew Nathanael, Talmai’s son, lived in Cana of Galilee. Three parallel knives are his apostolic symbol. According to legend, he was a missionary in Armenia, and to some scholars, he was the only one of the 12 disciples to have royal blood or noble birth. Saint Batholomew given name translates as “Son of Tolmai or Talmai” (2 Samuele 3:3).
Talmai was the king of Geshur, and his daughter, Maacah, was David’s wife and the mother of Absolom. Every list of the disciples includes Bartholomew’s name (Matteo 10:3; Marco 3:18; Luca 6:14; Acts 1:13).
This, however, was not his first name; it was his middle name. His given name was most likely Nathanael, and Jesus referred to him as “an Israelite indeed, without guile” (Giovanni 1:47).
Il Nuovo Testamento ci dice molto poco di lui. Secondo la tradizione fu un grande studioso della legge e dei profeti, oltre che un grande ricercatore delle Scritture.
Divenne un uomo completamente devoto al falegname di Nazareth e uno dei missionari più audaci della Chiesa. Si dice che abbia predicato insieme a Filippo in Frigia, Ierapoli e Armenia.
È considerato il fondatore e martire della Chiesa armena. Tuttavia, la tradizione dice che abbia predicato in India, e la sua morte sembra sia avvenuta lì. Morì martire per il suo Signore. È statoscorticato vivo con i coltelli.
Life with Jesus
Quando Filippo condusse Natanaele da Gesù, le prime parole che gli disse furono:
"Ecco un vero israelita, senza malizia!"
Natanaele era perplesso, chiedendosi come Gesù potesse riconoscerlo.
Gesù disse a Natanaele che lo conosceva da sempre e che avrebbe visto cose molto più grandi di quelle che aveva visto fino a quel momento. La dichiarazione di Natanaele che Gesù è il Figlio di Dio è il primo caso registrato di qualcuno che accetta Gesù come Figlio di Dio.
San Bartolomeo rimase sbalordito quando Gesù chiese,
"Come mi conosci?"
“Prima che Filippo ti chiamasse quando eri sotto il fico, io ti vidi”, rispose Gesù. San Bartolomeo interpretò la rivelazione di Gesù come un invito a seguirlo.
Except for those who were present, no one would have known St. Bartholomew was near this fig tree at this point. Nonetheless, Jesus was aware of this, and, significantly, Jesus stated, “Before Philip called you.” At the very least, St. Bartholomew’s reaction suggests this “Rabbi, you are God’s Son! You are Israel’s King!” (Matthew 1:47; Matthew 1:49)
In the Bible
Bartholomew is listed among the Twelve Apostles of Jesus in the three synoptic gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and also appears as one of the witnesses of the Ascension; on each occasion, however, he is named in the company of Philip.
Travels and Missionary
According to legend, after Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension, Bartholomew evangelized in the East, including Mesopotamia, Persia, the Black Sea region, and possibly India. He died as a martyr.
Secondo la leggenda, Bartolomeo convertì il re d'Armenia scacciando un demone dall'idolo principale del tempio e poi distruggendo tutti gli idoli. In un impeto di rabbia, il fratello maggiore del re fece arrestare, picchiare e giustiziare Bartolomeo.
The identification of Bartholomew in the synoptic gospels and Acts with the Nathaniel of the Gospel of John is strengthened by the fact that Nathaniel was brought to Christ by the apostle Philip (Giovanni 1:45), and Bartholomew is always placed next to Philip in the lists of the apostles in the synoptic gospels.
Se questa identificazione è corretta, allora fu Bartolomeo che disse di Cristo,
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
That remark elicited Christ’s response when he first met Bartholomew:
“Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile” (Giovanni 1:47).
Bartholomew became a follower of Jesus after Christ revealed to him the circumstances surrounding Philip’s call (“under the fig tree,” John 1:48).
«In verità, in verità vi dico: vedrete i cieli aperti e gli angeli di Dio salire e scendere sul Figlio dell'uomo»,
Cristo ha detto a Bartolomeo.
Bartholomew or Nathanael? We are once again confronted with the fact that we know very little about the majority of gli apostoli.
Gli sconosciuti, invece, erano le pietre di fondazione, i 12 pilastri del nuovo Israele, le cui 12 tribù ora circondano l'intera terra.
Their personalities were secondary without diminishing their great office of carrying tradition from first-hand experience, speaking in the name of Jesus, and putting the Word Made Flesh into human words for the world’s enlightenment.
Their holiness was not an inward reflection of their position before God. It was a gift that they felt compelled to share with others.
La Buona Notizia è che tutti sono chiamati alla santità di essere membra di Cristo, per il grazioso dono di Dio. Il semplice fatto è che l'umanità è priva di significato a meno che Dio non sia la sua totale preoccupazione. Allora l'umanità, resa santa dalla santità di Dio, diventa la creazione più preziosa di Dio.
giorni di festa
Eastern Christianity commemorates him on June 11, while the Catholic Church commemorates Bartholomew on August 24.
Varie tradizioni descrivono vari metodi di esecuzione di Bartolomeo. Si dice che sia stato decapitato o che gli sia stata tolta la pelle e crocifisso a testa in giù, simile aSaint Peter.
Nell'iconografia cristiana, viene mostrato con in mano un coltello da conciatore, che viene utilizzato per separare la pelle di un animale dalla sua carcassa. Alcune raffigurazioni hanno sullo sfondo, mentre altre (in particolare il Giudizio Universale di Michelangelo) mostrano Bartolomeo con la pelle drappeggiata sul braccio.
Le reliquie di San Bartolomeo giunsero dall'Armenia all'isola di Lipari (nei pressi della Sicilia) nel VII secolo, secondo la leggenda. Nell'809 furono trasferiti a Benevento, in Campania, a nord-est di Napoli, e infine nel 983 alla Chiesa di San Bartolomeo nell'Isola, sull'isola del Tevere a Roma.
San Giuseppe lo vide all'altare nella festa dell'apostolo Bartolomeo. Fece cenno a Giuseppe e prese il santo Vangelo dalla mensa dell'altare, stringendolo al petto con le parole: Il Signore ti benedica e il tuo canto rallegri il mondo intero.
San Giuseppe iniziò quindi a comporre inni e canoni per adornare la Festa dell'Apostolo San Bartolomeo e le Feste di molti altri santi, componendo in totale circa 300 canoni.
Saints John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Epiphanius of Cyprus, and other Church teachers believe that the Apostle Bartholomew and Nathanael are the same people (Giovanni 1:45; John 1:46; Giovanni 1:47; John 1:48; John 1:49; John 1:50; John 1:51; John 21:2).
Prayer to Bartholomew
There isn’t a lot of information available about Bartholomew. He was one of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples, one of the twelve, and a devout follower of Christ. The Catholic Church represents him with three parallel knives because of his belief method of death as a martyr flayed alive.
The name Bartholomew means “son of Talmai” (this is sometimes spelled, Tolman). His father was the King of Geshur, making Bartholomew a member of the royal family. He was regarded as a scholar who specialized in the law and the prophets. He was born in Cana of Galilee, the site of Jesus’ first recorded miracle, which launched His earthly ministry.
Bartolomeo e gli altri discepoli, conosciuti come gli apostoli o inviati, furono testimoni del ministero di Gesù per circa tre anni. Dopo la morte di Gesù, lanciarono il movimento che divenne noto come cristianesimo.
This makes Bartholomew one of the most important and authoritative leaders of the early church, and he most likely contributed to the spread of the gospel to specific regions during the first century, but he is never explicitly mentioned or singled out in any of the epistles.
Characteristics of Apostle Bartholomew shared an in-depth fact that everything that we can learn about Nathanael is taken from only seven verses of the Scripture.
Still, these seven verses give us great insight into his character.
According to the characteristics of the 12 apostles, what is known about this apostle is generally positive and has provoked at least some family members to say that I should have been called Nathanael instead of Nathan because, like that apostle, I am an Israelite in whom there is no guile.
Nathanael was from a small town called Cana of Galilee therefore Nathaniel was a bit of a country boy but did not think for a moment that country boys are uneducated or uninformed.
Nathaniel was a thinker.
Let’s consider three characteristics of Apostle Bartholomew:
- A Man with Double Titles
- A Man with Devotional Traits
- A Man with Deep Thoughts
One of the first characteristics of Nathaniel or Bartholomew was what appeared to be a prejudice in him, as when he says,
Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?
This is not to condemn or judge, but merely to try to give you a picture of what he was like in the natural realm as well as the spiritual realm.
A Man with Double Titles
The synoptic gospels speak of an apostle named Bartholomew but never Nathaniel. On the other hand, the Gospel of John speaks of Nathaniel but never Bartholomew. In the synoptic gospels, Bartholomew always follows Philip’s name. In the gospel of John, it was Philip that led Nathaniel to Christ.
He is also linked with Thomas, John, James, and Peter after the resurrection when the apostles decided to go fishing, just as stated in the Characteristics of the 12 Apostles.
Since the other gospels do not mention Nathanael and the Gospel of John does not mention Bartholomew, they must be the same man.
And apparently, his full name appears to have been Nathanael Bartholomew. It is not uncommon to find people with more than one name. Matthew is also called Levi. Saul is also Paul. And Peter had three names – Simon, Peter, and Cephas.
Nathanael, the name that John called him, means a gift from God. If nothing else, it definitely shows that his parents were mindful that their baby boy was a blessing from the Lord.
So, the chances are good that Nathaniel was raised in a fairly decent religious home. Nathaniel is an Old Testament name. We can find it in the Old Testament in three forms:
First, there was Nathan, a prophet of David, who tried to keep David straight. Second, there was the name El-Nathan. This name belonged to a couple of important people:
One was a well-known man in Jerusalem who was also the father of a queen. Another was a messenger for Ezra to bring back more Levites to Jerusalem. Another name was Nathaniel. There were at least ten men with this form of the name. The most well-known was the brother of David.
So, what do we learn from his name? He had a religious upbringing which is probably why he had his devotions under a fig tree.
A Man with Devotional Traits
The characteristics of Apostle Bartholomew made us understand that he was a man with devotional traits. Earlier, Philip had told Nathaniel of Christ, but Nathaniel was not so quick to believe.
Nathaniel was the type of man who had to see for himself. When Philip spoke of one from Nazareth, he is not sure that Jesus is the one. He, like many others, held a poor estimation of Nazareth. It was not considered important or especially reputable.
This passage shows Nathanael to be a very devotional, blunt, and unpretentious person.
He openly expresses his doubts that anything good could come out of Nazareth. He then openly proclaims the supernatural knowledge Jesus possesses shows that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the promised Messianic King of Israel.
Jesus Christ reads his character like an open book and likes what He sees promising greater miracles than the supernatural knowledge about the human character He possessed.
A Man with Deep Thoughts
Another characteristic of Apostle Bartholomew was a critical thinker. He was a ponderer. He meditated upon things before he committed himself to something. And that is why Nathanael makes a powerful statement concerning Christ: John 1:49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
There were quite a number of Jews who were anticipating the Messiah’s arrival. Those who studied the Bible knew that the time of the Messiah’s arrival was near.
This passage shows Nathanael to be a thoughtful and reflective sort of person.
The statements of Jesus Christ about being an Israelite relate to his descent from Jacob, who was certainly a man full of guile and deceit during his early life.
That said, it would appear as if Nathanael was under the fig tree (a common representation of a philosophical sort of person) thinking about the dream of Jacob where angels went up and down the stairway to heaven, showing the relationship between heaven and earth and the possibility of communication between the two realms.
There are a few lessons that one can learn from Bartholomew (Nathanael). These lessons include lessons about his personality as it appears in Scripture and what type of believer is likely to be a lot like this apostle. In learning about Bartholomew (Nathanael), we help learn that the qualities Jesus Christ praised in him are also praiseworthy in other believers and are useful for the body of Christ as a whole.
Let us, therefore, conclude with an honest admission that one would like to know a lot more about the characteristics of apostle Bartholomew than either the biblical or the historical record provides.
However, what the Bible does supply is at least a striking piece of evidence of how this particular disciple (and others like him) fits in with other disciples as a sounding board and a sincere and faithful companion, full of reflection well as sincerity.
St Bartholomew Facts show us that although the Bible didn’t brief us much on St Bartholomew, it is believed that Apostle Bartholomew was also known as Nathanael and came from Cana in Galilee. (John 21:2). He expressed some local prejudice about Nazareth. (John 1:46)
Jesus recognized how sincerely his love for God was from the beginning when He said,
“Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (Giovanni 1:47).
Nathanael may have preached in India and translated the Book of Matthew into their language. He was beaten, crucified, and beheaded. It is one of St Bartholomew’s facts that he died as a martyr while serving the people of Albinopolis, Armenia.
Most Bible scholars believe Nathanael and Bartholomew were one and the same.
The name Bartholomew is a family designation, meaning “son of Tolmai,” which implies that he had another name. Nathanael means “gift of God” or “giver of God.”
Facts and Symbols
One of the St Bartholomew Facts is that Bartholomew is also known as Nathaniel. He is most famous for the dramatic conversation he had with Apostle Philip in the Gospel of John.
Philip, having seen Jesus, rushes to Nathaniel to tell him about the messiah.
“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
“Come and see.”
When Nathaniel approaches Jesus, the Saviour miraculously describes Nathaniel and the apostle cries out,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Tradition suggests that Bartholomew traveled widely to preach the gospel. He is said to have gone as far east as India, but most sources center him around Armenia and Africa. He was martyred after converting the king, Polymius, to Christianity. The king’s brother ordered Bartholomew to be tortured and executed. Bartholomew’s symbol is a knife to show that he was killed by being skinned alive.
One of the other St Bartholomew facts is that in the synoptic Gospels, the name Bartholomew always follows Saint Philip in lists of the Twelve. In the Gospel of John, Bartholomew is not mentioned at all; Nathanael is listed instead, after Philip. Likewise, Nathanael’s presence with other disciples at the Sea of Galilee after Jesus’ resurrection suggests that he was one of the original Twelve (John 21:2) and a witness to the resurrection.
Bartholomew is one of the most obscure apostles. His name only appears in the four lists of Jesus’ 12 main disciples, and he’s never listed with any titles or descriptions. All we really know is his name, and that he’s closely associated with Philip (aside from the list in Acts 1:13, Bartholomew is always listed alongside Philip, which perhaps indicates some sort of relationship).
There are many St Bartholomew Facts and one of the many miracles performed by Bartholomew before and after his death, are the two very popular ones, known by the townsfolk of the small island of Lipari.
The people of Lipari celebrated his feast day annually. The tradition of the people was to take the solid silver and gold statue from inside the Cathedral of St Bartholomew and carry it through the town.
On one occasion, when taking the statue down the hill towards the town, it suddenly became very heavy and had to be set down. When the men carrying the statue regained their strength, they lifted it a second time. After another few seconds, it got even heavier.
They set it down and attempted once more to pick it up. They managed to lift it but had to put it down one last time. Within seconds, walls further downhill collapsed. If the statue had been able to be lifted, all the townspeople would have been killed.
During World War II, the Fascist regime looked for ways to finance its activities. The order was given to take the silver statue of St Bartholomew and melt it down. The statue was weighed, and it was found to be only a few grams.
It was returned to its place in the Cathedral of Lipari. In reality, the statue is made from many kilograms of silver and it is considered a miracle that it was not melted down. St Bartholomew is credited with many other miracles having to do with the weight of objects.
Is Bartholomew the Same Person as Nathanael?
Bartholomew’s name most likely comes from the Aramaic name, Bar-Talmai, meaning “son of Talmai.” If that’s the case and this is a patronymic name (meaning a name that derives from a person’s father), it stands to reason that Bartholomew would’ve been known by another name.
In this case, most would argue that this other name is Nathanael since Nathanael appears to be an apostle in the Gospel of John, is closely associated with Philip (Philip calls him to meet Jesus, after all), and Bartholomew doesn’t appear in John.
But others argue that Bartholomew is a standalone name and that the Greek text normally represents patronymic names differently:
“The name ‘Bartholomew’ may stand by itself in the apostolic lists as a proper name. It is not necessarily patronymic. The patronymic is normally expressed in the lists by the Greek genitive, not by the Aramaic bar.” —Professor Michael Wilkins, Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
That’s not to say Bartholomew was not also known as Nathanael, just that this isn’t necessarily why he would’ve been known by two names. Many modern scholars prefer to take a neutral stance on Nathanael and Bartholomew, suggesting that it’s possible, but not verifiable.
If Bartholomew is Nathanael though, John gives us two additional passages to learn about this disciple. When Philip first tells Nathanael about Jesus, he’s skeptical:
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46)
But after seeing Jesus demonstrate his divinity, he says:
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel” (John 1:49)
Toward the end of John’s gospel, Nathanael comes up again. This time, he’s merely listed among seven disciples who went fishing (John 21:1; John 21:2; John 21:3).
We know several of these disciples are fishermen—Peter, James, and John, plus Andrew if he’s one of the unnamed disciples in the passage—so either Nathanael was a fisherman, too or he’s just taking the opportunity to learn a new trade since at this point it seemed like the whole disciple thing didn’t work out.
Was Nathanael the Apostle Bartholomew?
Most Bible scholars believe Nathanael and Bartholomew were one and the same. The name Bartholomew is a family designation, meaning “son of Tolmai,” which as part of the St Bartholomew Facts implies that he had another name. Nathanael means “gift of God” or “giver of God.”
In the synoptic Gospels, the name Bartholomew always follows Philip in lists of the Twelve. In the Gospel of John, Bartholomew is not mentioned at all; Nathanael is listed instead, after Philip. Likewise, Nathanael’s presence with other disciples at the Sea of Galilee after Jesus’ resurrection suggests that he was one of the original Twelve (John 21:2) and a witness to the resurrection.
St Bartholomew Facts writes Bartholomew (Nathanael Bartholomew): Bartholomew (also referred to as Saint Bartholomew by the Catholic church) was a friend of Phillip and was brought to see the greatness of Christ by Phillip. It is part of the St Bartholomew Facts that both Bartholomew and Phillip are often seen together and as a result, they are generally lumped together when spoken of in any detail.
Bartholomew is known for being an honest man who was convinced by Jesus’ greatness upon his meeting with Him and learning that Jesus saw him even before he came to Him.
Much as with Phillip, Bartholomew is not referred to in detail in The Bible and so not too much is known about him. While his death is not talked of in The Bible it is believed that Bartholomew too received the death of a martyr as a result of his firm belief in Christianity and his intent on spreading the word of Christ.
Saint Bartholomew was chosen as one of the twelve apostles by our blessed Lord Himself. Several learned interpreters of Holy Scripture believe that this apostle was the same as Nathaniel, a native of Cana in Galilee, a doctor of Jewish law, and one of Christ’s seventy-two disciples, to whom he was led by St. Philip, and whose innocence and simplicity of heart deserved the highest eulogy from Our Redeemer’s divine mouth.
He is mentioned among the disciples who gathered in prayer after Christ’s ascension, and he, like the others, received the Holy Spirit. Being eminently qualified by the divine grace to discharge the functions of an apostle, he carried the Gospel through the most barbarous countries of the East, penetrating the remoter Indies. He then returned to the northwest part of Asia, where he met St. Philip in Hierapolis, Phrygia.
As a result, he traveled to Lycaonia, where he instructed the people in the Christian faith; however, we don’t even know the names of many of the countries where he preached. However, the name Bartholomew is a family name that means “Son of Tholmai” (Bar-Thomas, or Bartholomaios in Greek). As a result, Bartholomew is commonly identified with Nathaniel, who is mentioned in Saint John’s gospel but not in the synoptic gospels.
#1. The Armenian Apostolic Church honors Saint Bartholomew, alongside who?
#2. What century was Bartholomew born?
#3. How was Bartholomew killed?
#4. Bartholomew argued if anything good can come from where?
#5. What is Bartholomew not a patron saint of?
#6. Where was Bartholomew buried?
#7. In what month is Bartholomew honored by the Coptic Church?
#8. Whose daughter did Bartholomew heal of possession?
#9. How many synoptic gospels was Bartholomew mentioned in?
#10. What is the biblical meaning of the name Bartholomew?
Resources Saint Bartholomew