Bartholomew [likely also known as Nathaniel] was one of the Twelve Great Apostles. He was a companion of the Apostle Philip and Philip’s sister, the virgin Mariamna and, for some time, a companion of St. John the Theologian. Bartholomew preached the Gospel first throughout Asia and, after that, 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 which the heathens kept in their temple and worshipped. In this same city and, by prayer, they restored sight to Stachius who was blind for forty years. It was here that a mob rose up against them and they crucified Philip and Bartholomew (Bartholomew was crucified upside down). At this time, an earthquake occurred in which the evil judges and may people perished. Feeling that this was a punishment from God, many ran to remove the apostles from the crosses but Philip was already dead while Bartholomew was still alive. After this, Bartholomew went to India where he preached and translated the Gospel of St. Matthew into the Indian language.
Following this, he entered Armenia where he cured the daughter of the king from 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 [Derbend].
Christians honorably buried his body in a lead sarcophagus. Because many miracles occurred over his relics, the pagans took the sarcophagus and tossed it into the sea. But the water carried the sarcophagus to the Island of Lipara where Bishop Agathon, through a revelation in a dream, met and buried it in the church. St. Bartholomew, attired in a white garment, appeared in church to Venerable Joseph, the Hymnographer, blessed him with the Gospel that he may be able to sing spiritual hymns saying: “Let heavenly waters of wisdom flow from your tongue!” He also appeared to Emperor Anastasius (A.D. 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.
—From The Prologue from Ohrid by Saint Nikolaj Velimirović.
The Holy Apostle Bartholomew’s feast days are June 11, August 25 (the translation of his relics), and June 30 (the Feast of the Twelve Apostles). It is believed that he is the same person comemerated on April 22 with Apostles Luke and Clement as Nathaniel of the Seventy.