Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Great Apostles. From all appearances, Bartholomew and Nathaniel are one and the same person. Together with the Apostle Philip and Philip’s sister, the virgin Mariamna – and for a time with St. John the Theologian – Bartholomew preached the Gospel first throughout Asia, then in India and finally in Armenia, where he died a martyr’s death. In Hierapolis, these holy apostles, by prayer, caused the death of a large serpent that the heathens kept in their temple and worshiped. In this same city, by prayer, they restored sight to Stachius, who had been blind for forty years. It was here that a mob rose up against them and crucified Philip and Bartholomew. (Bartholomew was crucified upside down.) At this time, there occurred an earthquake in which the evil judges and many people perished. Believing that this was a punishment from God, many ran to remove the apostles from the crosses, but Philip was already dead, although Bartholomew was still alive. After this, Bartholomew went to India, where he preached and translated the Gospel of St. Matthew into the Indian language. Then he entered Armenia, where he cured the king’s daughter of insanity. But the envious brother of King Astyages seized God’s apostle, crucified him on a cross, skinned him, and finally beheaded him in Armenian Albanopolis. Christians honorably buried his body in a lead coffin. Because many miracles occurred over his relics, the pagans took the coffin and cast it into the sea. But the water carried the coffin to the island of Lipara, where Bishop Agathon, through a revelation in a dream, met it and buried it in the church. St. Bartholomew, attired in a white garment, appeared in church to the Venerable Joseph the Hymnographer and blessed him with the Gospel, that he might be able to sing spiritual hymns, saying: “Let heavenly waters of wisdom flow from your tongue!” He also appeared to Emperor Anastasius (491-518) and told him that he would protect the newly established town of Dara. Later, the relics of this great apostle were translated to Benevento and then to Rome. Great and awesome miracles have occurred over these relics.
Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume One.
O Holy Apostles, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
To the Church thou hast appeared as a great daystar; with thy teachings as thy rays and beams of awesome miracles, thou hast enlightened those praising thee, the Lord’s Apostle, O sacred Bartholomew.