The collect for today, the Feast of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):
O almighty and everlasting God, who didst give to thine apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word; Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church, to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and receive the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The apostle Bartholomew, named in all three synoptic gospels, is generally identified with Nathanael, who is named only in the Gospel of St John. If this identification is accepted, we have a great deal of information on Bartholomew’s calling (St John 1:45-51). Jesus described him as “an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit”.
Nothing is known for certain of his post-New Testament ministry. There are conflicting accounts of his missionary activity in Asia Minor, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Persia, India and Egypt. Of these Armenia has the strongest support, where he was said to have been skinned alive before being beheaded. The traditionally accepted place of his martyrdom is Albanopolis (present-day Derbent), near the western shore of the Caspian Sea.
Artwork: Marco d’Agrate, Saint Bartholomew, 1562, Duomo di Milano. This striking sculpture depicts the saint wearing his own skin around his neck. (Click on photo for enlarged view.) Photo taken by admin 4 May 2010.