St. Bartholomew, 2010

Homily by Rev. Mason T. Beecroft, 08/24/2010

Where is St. Bartholomew? He is clearly not prominent in the Holy Scripture. Even the appointed lessons for his festival day appear to leave him out. The Christian tradition holds that St. Bartholomew proclaimed the Gospel in the Middle East and Asia; in places like Armenia, Arabia, Persia, and even India. Reliable reports claim he suffered martyrdom in modern-day Azerbaijan, being skinned alive before he was crucified upside down. This tradition is likely. Then there are the legends. The people of Lipari, a small island located between Italy and Sicily, contend that his body washed up on shore there and was miraculously recovered by the children of the island. Now their Cathedral of St. Bartholomew the Apostle claims to possess a large piece of his skin and a collection of his bones. His skull, however, was transferred to Frankfurt. One of his arms made it all the great Canterbury Cathedral. People in these places would suggest that St. Bartholomew, or at least bits and pieces of him, can be found there. We will not look for St. Bartholomew in such places. The fanciful and profitable legends of relics may be something, but they are not reliable or trustworthy. We will not find him in those places. So where do we find St. Bartholomew?

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