St. Bartholomew

The Church Standard

All that we know certainly of St. Bartholomew, whose day we keep August 24, is his name in the list of the twelve apostles. It is another case like that of St. James the Great, of how God's chosen servants may spend their lives in His service, and die leaving no record of good deeds behind them. It was enough for St. Bartholomew that he did his Master's will, and was known to God; and it ought to be enough for all those who are following in the apostle's footsteps, the ministers and stewards of Christ's ministry. Some authorities think that Bartholomew was the same as Nathanael, the young man of whom our Lord said: "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" but this is only problematical.

The earliest traditions about St. Bartholomew tell us that he went as a missionary to Northern India, where he left a copy of St. Matthew's Gospel, which was afterwards found by Pantaenus, the great Alexandrian catechist (190 A. D.).

Then he went with St. Philip into Phrygia. While preaching the Gospel there, they were seized and led to execution. St. Bartholomew escaped crucifixion— it is said from a sudden fear that overwhelmed the pagan governor that God would avenge his death. His last journey was into Armenia, where he made many converts. The tradition is that he was flayed alive by King Astyages, at Albanopolis upon the Caspian Sea. To the last moment he cheered and comforted the newly baptized. In pictures St. Bartholomew is shown with a bushy beard, and in the prime of life. In one hand he carries a butcher's flaying knife, and in the other a copy of St. Matthew's Gospel. At Croyland Abbey, in England, little knives used to be given away on St. Bartholomew's Day as mementos. But what we chiefly connect with his day is the horrible massacre in Paris, in 1572, ordered by the King, Charles IX., in which thirty thousand Protestants were put to death by the Papists.

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August 31, 1899

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