BARTHOLOMEW, SAINT, one of the twelve apostles, regarding whose early life we know nothing, unless in accordance with a widely-spread belief he is to be identified with Nathanael (q.v.). If so, Bartholomew is probably a patronymic, the apostle's full name being Nathanael Bartolmai, i.e. the son of Tolmai. On the other hand, according to a Syrian tradition, Bartholomew's original name was Jesus, which he dropped owing to its being the name of the Master Himself. In the synoptic gospels Bartholomew is never mentioned except in the lists of the apostles, where his name always appears after Philip's. He is said to have gone, after the ascension of the Lord, on a missionary tour to India (then a very wide geographical designation) where, according to a story in Eusebius (H.E. v. 10), he left behind him a copy of St Matthew's gospel. According to the traditional account he was flayed alive and then crucified with his head downwards, at Albanopolis in Armenia, or, according to Nicephorus, at Urbanopolis in Cilicia. In works of art he is generally represented with a large knife, the instrument of his martyrdom, or, as in Michelangelo's "Last Judgment," with his own skin hanging over his arm. The festival of St Bartholomew is celebrated on the 24th of August.
Dr. Nestle has drawn attention to the fact that in the Syriac translation of Eusebius' history the name Tolmai, i.e. Bartholomew, takes the place of Matthias, the apostle who was appointed in place of Judas (i. 12, cf. ii. 1, iii. 25 and 29). If this identification can be made out there would, in the list of apostles as finally constituted, be two men who bore the patronymic Bartholomew. See further Expository Times, ix. pp. 566 ff. (1898).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)