St Bartholomew: Patron Saint of the Odrowaz Clan
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska

Bartholomew means "son of the furrow," or a plowman in literal Hebrew. Bartholomew was not the saint's given name, but it comes from the father's name, Tholomew or Tolmai. "Bar" meaning (in Hebrew) "son of." St. Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles, chosen by Christ. In the Bible (Mark 3:18) he was sometimes called Nathaniel. Nathaniel was thought to have been a native of Galilee and a doctor of Jewish laws.

After being crucified, and then resurrecting from the dead, Jesus appeared to Bartholomew at the sea of Galilee. Christ greeted Bartholomew by saying: "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no guile." In amazement, Nathaniel (Bartholomew) asked Jesus how he knew him.

Christ replied:" I saw you under the fig tree before Phillip called you."

As an adult, Bartholomew returns home and cures the crippled hand of his mother after she was re-baptized. He preached the gospel in the most barbarous countries of the East. He traveled to Persia, Arabia, India, and finally Armenia, where they worshipped idols.

In Armenia Bartholomew was condemned by the governor of Albanopolis to be crucified and his skin removed (flayed). This was often practiced in Egypt, Persia, and Armenia; and it was a painful death indeed! After much suffering, Bartholomew died on the cross much like Jesus.

The relics of St. Bartholomew were taken to an unknown place, most likely by another Christian or the other apostles? (this is no clear). Sometime in the 600's, the remains of St. Bartholomew were taken to the Isle of Lipari, near Sicily, Italy. In 809, these same remains were moved from Lipari to Benevento, and in 983, to the isle of Tiber, in the Tiber River near Rome. Here they were housed in the church built in his name, the Church of St. Bartholomew.

The cult of Saint Bartholomew was especially popular in southern Italy and England. England received an acquisition, in the eleventh century. One chronicler stated that Emma, the second wife of Cnut entrusted the arm of Saint Bartholomew to Canterbury. Another chronicler thought the arm was given as a present to St. Edward the Confessor from the bishop of Benevento, and that Edward then housed it, in a place of honor, in Canterbury Cathedral. Today, you can see the stained glass portraiture on the windows in Canterbury Cathedral.

St. Bartholomew is portrayed holding a tanner's knife, the same type knife that was used to flay him. This became his emblem. He is often shown with his own hide draped over his arm...a gruesome depiction, but a reminder of his fate at the hands of the Armenians.

St. Bartholomew is the patron of Armenia, cheese merchants, tanners, plasterers, and he is invoked to cure nervous tics.


Butler's Lives of the Saints (on CD-ROM) USA: Harmony Media, Inc. "St. Bartholomew," 1996. Their Website

Hallam, Elizabeth. Saints: Who they are abd how they help you. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994, 135.

Hallick, Mary P. The Book of Saints. Minneapolis, MN: Light and Life Publishing Company, 1984.

Hoever, Rev. Hugo. Lives of the Saints. New York: Catholic Books Publishing Co., 1989. 353.

Jöckle, Clemens. Encyclopedia of Saints. London: Alpine Fine Arts Collection Ltd., 1995, 52-53.

Kelly, Sean and Rosemary Rodgers. Saints Preserve Us. New York: Random House, 1993, 31.

McNeill, John. Illustrated Lives of the Saints. New York: Crescent Books, 1995, 28.

Whiteside, Lesley. The Book of the Saints New York: Quadrillion Publishing, Inc., 1998, 41.

Back to The Polish Saints Table of Contents

You are the visitor since October 8, 2003

Webmaster: Margaret Sypniewska
Owner: Raymond Sypniewski, B.S., M.A., PNA.
Email Margaret: Margaret
Email Raymond: Raymond
This page was last updated on August 5, 2006

This page is hosted by