On this day we commemorate the translation of the relics of St. Bartholomew, although his main feast is celebrated on June 11. When this great apostle was crucified in Albanopolis in Armenia, Christians removed his body and buried it in a lead sarcophagus. When numerous miracles – especially healings of the sick – occurred over the grave of the apostle, the number of Christians visiting the grave increased, so the pagans took the coffin containing the relics of Bartholomew and threw it into the sea. They also threw four more coffins into the sea. These contained the relics of four martyrs: Papian, Lucian, Gregory and Acacius. However, by God’s providence the coffins did not sink, but floated and were carried by the current: Acacius to the town of Askalon, Gregory to Calabria, Lucian to Messina, Papian to the other side of Sicily, and Bartholomew to the island of Lipara. By a miraculous revelation, Agathon, the Bishop of Lipara, foresaw the approach of Apostle Bartholomew’s relics. Accompanied by other clergy and the people, Agathon came to the seashore to receive the coffin with great joy. Immediately, many healings of the sick occurred over the relics of the holy apostle. The relics were placed in the Church of St. Bartholomew on Lipara, and reposed there until the time of Theophilus the Iconoclast. In approximately 839, the Moslems threatened Lipara, and the relics of the apostle were translated to Benevento. Thus the Lord glorified His apostle by the miraculous grace bestowed upon him, both during his life and after his death.
Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume Two.
The marvellous return of thine all-holy relics is now for us the cause of a feast bright and joyous, O all-famed Bartholomew, thou Apostle of God the Lord. Paying homage to thy feast, we piously honour thee, the lamp whose light doth never dim; and we worship and magnify Christ our God.