St. Bartholomew was one of the first followers of Jesus. This apostle’s other name was Nathaniel. He came from Cana in Galilee. He became a disciple of Jesus when his friend Philip invited him to come and meet the Lord. Nathaniel received high praise from Jesus, who said, as soon as he saw him, “Here is a man in whom there is no deceit.” Jesus knew that Nathaniel was an honest, sincere man. His one desire was to know the truth.
Nathaniel was very surprised to hear those words from the Lord. “How do you know me?” he asked. “Before Philip called you,” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree.” That was a favorite praying place. Nathaniel must have realized then that Jesus had read his heart as he prayed. “Master!” he cried. “You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!” And Nathaniel became one of the Lord’s faithful apostles.
Nathaniel, or Bartholomew, like the other apostles, preached the Gospel of Jesus at the risk of his life. It is believed that he went to India, Armenia, and other lands. He preached with great zeal, until he gave his life for the faith. And so, St. Bartholomew not only received the reward of an apostle, but also the martyr’s crown.