Saint Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles, and had Galilee as his homeland; this is all that is known of him for certain according to the history of the Gospels. Concerning his apostolic work, certain say that he preached in Arabia and Persia, and especially in India, bringing to them the Gospel written by Saint Matthew, which had been written originally in Hebrew, and which was found there one hundred years later by Pantaenus, formerly a stoic philosopher and later an illustrious teacher of the Christian school in Alexandria (see Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., 5: 10). Other accounts say that he went to Armenia. According to some, he ended his life by being crucified, or by being flayed alive, in Albanopolis (Urbanopolis) of Armenia. This also confirms an ancient tradition preserved by the Armenians. According to some, Bartholomew and Nathanael are the same person, because the Evangelists who mention Bartholomew do not mention Nathanael; and John, who alone mentions Nathanael as one of the Twelve, says nothing of Bartholomew. Indeed, Bartholomew is a patronymic, "son of Talmai," which means "bold, spirited" (see also Jesus of Navi 15:14; II Kings 3:3), and Nathanael could have had this as a surname. According to the Synaxarion of the Menaion on April 22, however, it is Simon the Zealot and Nathanael who are the same; the Evangelists who mention Simon the Zealot (or "the Cananite") do not mention Nathanael.
Saint Barnabas, one of the Seventy, was from Cyprus, of the tribe of Levi, and a fellow disciple with Paul under Gamaliel. He was called Joses, but was renamed Barnabas, which means "son of consolation," perhaps to distinguish him from the Joses called Barsabas and surnamed Justus (Acts 1:23). Saint Barnabas had a field, which he sold and brought the money to the Apostles (Acts 4:36-37). Before the conversion of Saul to Paul, it was Barnabas who was the leader of the Seventy Apostles, the first in preaching and chief spokesman. After Saul's vision on the road to Damascus, it was Barnabas who joined him to the Apostles when the others, because of Saul's reputation as a persecutor of the Church, still feared him (Acts 9:26-27); again it was Saint Barnabas who conscripted Paul as a preacher, bringing him from Tarsus to Antioch after the stoning of Stephen, to assist in spreading the Gospel (Acts 11:25-26). Saint Barnabas preached the Gospel in many places, traveled together with Paul, and finally was stoned to death by the Jews in his native Cyprus. During the reign of Zeno, in the year 478, his sacred relics were found, having on his chest the Gospel according to Matthew written in Greek by Barnabas' own hand. This Gospel was brought to Zeno. Because of this the Church of Cyprus received the right of autonomy, and its archbishop was given the privilege, like the emperor, of signing his decrees and encyclicals in vermilion.
Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved.
The content on this page is under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: