Feast of St. Bartholomew the Apostle

August 24, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings:  Deuteronomy 18:15-18 / Psalm 91 / 1 Corinthians 4:9-15 / Luke 22:24-30 / Reflection: Bartholomew, one of the “foundation stones” 


We run the race set before us, surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

Therefore let us lay aside every weight,

and the sin which clings so closely,

bringing them to Jesus in penitence and faith.

  • Hebrews 12.1
  • The Collect

    Almighty and everlasting God, who gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach your Word: Grant that your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [1]


    “Hymn for Bartholomew” 

    by Horatio Nelson

    For all your saints still striving, 

            for all your saints at rest, 

    your holy Name, O Jesus, 

            for evermore be blessed. 

    You rose, our King victorious, 

            that they might wear the crown 

    and ever shine in splendor 

            reflected from your throne. 

    Praise your blessed apostle 

            surnamed Bartholomew; 

    we know not his achievements 

            but know that he was true, 

    for he at the ascension 

            was an apostle still. 

    May we discern your presence 

            and seek, like him, your will. 

    Then let us praise the Father 

            and worship God the Son 

    and sing to God the Spirit, 

            eternal Three in One, 

    till all the ransomed number 

            who stand before the throne 

    ascribe all power and glory 

            and praise to God alone. [2]

    Saint John and Saint Bartholomew (right) 
    by Dosso Dossi, 1527

    Old Testament: Deuteronomy 18:15-18

    The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command.

    Saint Bartholomew Monastery at the site of the Apostle’s martyrdom in historical Armenia, now ruinous

    The Response: Psalm 91

    Qui habitat

    1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, *

    abides under the shadow of the Almighty.

    2 He shall say to the Lord,

    “You are my refuge and my stronghold, *

    my God in whom I put my trust.”

    3 He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter *

    and from the deadly pestilence.

    4 He shall cover you with his pinions,

    and you shall find refuge under his wings; *

    his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.

    5 [You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, *

    nor of the arrow that flies by day;

    6 Of the plague that stalks in the darkness, *

    nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.

    7 A thousand shall fall at your side

    and ten thousand at your right hand, *

    but it shall not come near you.

    8 Your eyes have only to behold *

    to see the reward of the wicked.

    9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge, *

    and the Most High your habitation,

    10 There shall no evil happen to you, *

    neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.

    11 For he shall give his angels charge over you, *

    to keep you in all your ways.

    12 They shall bear you in their hands, *

    lest you dash your foot against a stone.

    13 You shall tread upon the lion and adder; *

    you shall trample the young lion and the serpent under your feet.

    14 Because he is bound to me in love,

    therefore will I deliver him; *

    I will protect him, because he knows my Name.

    15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; *

    I am with him in trouble;

    I will rescue him and bring him to honor.

    16 With long life will I satisfy him, *

    and show him my salvation.

    The Epistle: 1 Corinthians 4:9-15

    I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals. We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.

    I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

    The Gospel: Luke 22:24-30

    A dispute arose among the disciples as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

    “You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

    St Bartholomew Flayed, by Marco d’Agrate, 1562 (Duomo di Milano)

    Reflection: Bartholomew, one of the “foundation stones”   

    “Bartholomew or Nathanael? We are confronted… with the fact that we know almost nothing about most of the apostles. Yet the unknown ones were also foundation stones, the 12 pillars of the new Israel whose 12 tribes now encompass the whole earth. Their personalities were secondary—without thereby being demeaned—to their great office of bearing tradition from their firsthand experience, speaking in the name of Jesus, putting the Word Made Flesh into human words for the enlightenment of the world. Their holiness was not an introverted contemplation of their status before God. It was a gift that they had to share with others. The Good News was that all are called to the holiness of being Christ’s members, by the gracious gift of God.” [3]

    “The simple fact is that humanity is totally meaningless unless God is its total concern. Then humanity, made holy with God’s own holiness, becomes the most precious creation of God.” [4]

    More About St. Bartholomew

    Patron: bookbinders; butchers; cobblers; Forentine cheese merchants; Forentine salt merchants; leather workers; nervous diseases; neurological diseases; plasterers; shoemakers; tanners; trappers; twitching; whiteners; Gambatesa, Italy; Armenia. [5]

    Symbols: Flaying or tanner’s knife and book; three vertical flaying or tanner’s knives; human skin; human skin on a cross; devil under his feet; St. Matthew’s Gospel; scimitar; cross; [6]

    Often Portrayed As: elderly man holding a tanner’s knife and a human skin; skinless man holding his own skin. [7]

    Things to Do [8]:
    • In Sandwich, Kent, England, there is a St Bartholomew’s Bun Race. The Bartlemas Bun Race for children takes place around the chapel of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital on this feast day. Each participant receives a currant bun, while the attendants are each given a St Bart’s Biscuit, which has an imprint of the hospital’s ancient seal. 
    • St. Bartholomew’s relics are in Rome, in the Church of St. Bartholomew-on-the-Tiber, or San Bartolomeo all’Isola (translated as: St. Bartholomew’s on the Island). This site provides some pictures this church. 
    • Read the Life of St. Bartholomew from The Golden Legend
    • Watch this short video about St. Bartholomew
    • Read more about St. Bartholomew here
    • Since gingerbread is one food associated with this saint, read this history of gingerbread
    • In England St. Bartholomew’s day was a harvest feast for shepherds and farmers, celebrating their flocks. Athletic contests before feasting with England’s favorite meat: grilled juicy mutton. This feast falls during the grilling season, so why not serve something from the barbecue.


    God, who has prepared for you a city with eternal foundations, bring you, with all the saints, to the eternal and triumphant joy of that city; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen. [9]

    Closing Prayer of the Church

    May the infinite and glorious Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, direct our life in good works, and after our journey through this world, grant us eternal rest with the saints. Amen. [10]


    [1] Episcopal Church. (n.d.). The Lessons Appointed for Use on the Feast of Saint Bartholomew. Saint Bartholomew. https://www.lectionarypage.net/YearABC/HolyDays/Barth.html

    [2] Tickle, P. (2000). August. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 425). New York, NY: Image Books.

    [3] Franciscan Media. (2018, July 03). Saint Bartholomew. Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-bartholomew/

    [4] Ibid. 3

    [5] Catholic Culture. (n.d.). Feast of st. Bartholomew, apostle – August 24, 2019 – liturgical calendar. Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle – August 24, 2019 – Liturgical Calendar | Catholic Culture. https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2019-08-24

    [6] Ibid. 5

    [7] Ibid. 5

    [8] Ibid. 5

    [9] Church of England. (n.d.). Apostles and evangelists. The Church of England. https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/common-material/common-saints-0

    [10] Ibid. 9

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