St Bartholomew

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Biblical scholars these days generally think St Bartholomew was the same person as Nathaniel, but nothing is known for certain about him.

The Roman Martyrology says he was one of the apostles who went to India and Armenia, and was eventually tortured and put to death there.

Jesus said Bartholomew was a man without deceit. The surprised future disciple asked Jesus: "How do you know me?" Jesus answered: "Before Philip called you, when you were sitting under the fig tree, I saw you."

Bartholomew's earlier scepticism disappeared and he said: "Teacher, you are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel." Then Jesus replied: "Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these. Truly I tell you you shall see the heavens open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

St Bartholomew's relics are said to have been taken from the island of Lipara, then to Beneventum and lastly to Rome where the church of St Bartholomew on the Tiber still claims them.

An arm of St Bartholomew was given to Queen Emma, wife of King Canute in the 11th century. At least 165 churches in England were named after him, including Crowland Abbey and St Bartholomew's in London.

St Bartholomew's Street Fair was held in Smithfield, in London from the Middle Ages. Another St Bartholomew's Fair dating back to Saxon times is held in Crewkere in Somerset.

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