Friday 25 August 2017

'The Lord's chaste apostle, Bartholomew to whom I pray'

August 25 is the feast of Saint Barthlomew the Apostle, whom tradition says met a particularly gruesome death by being flayed alive. His feast appears on the Irish calendars with the Martyrology of Tallaght simply noting 'Passio Bartholomei apostoli', at this date. The Martyrology of Oengus has a rather fuller entry:
F. viii. cal. Septembris.
Ro sreth scél a chesta cech leth co sál srúamach, iar mórchroich ro rígad in Bartholom búadach. 
25. The story of his suffering has been declared on every side even to the streamy sea: after a great cross he has been crowned, the triumphant Bartholomew.
The scholiast notes add:
25. Bartolom. Bartholomeus in Indiam perrexit et in ea passus est sub Astrige rege eorum .i. gladio decollatus est, uel uiuus sepultus est, post pellem rasam suam de corpore toto ante, et sic uitam finiuit. 
25. Bartholomew proceeded into India etc. i.e. he was beheaded with a sword, or he was buried alive, etc. 
The twelfth-century Martyrology of Gorman also notes the feast at the beginning of its entries for the preceding day:
24. E.
Apstol cáid in Coimdedh
Bartholom fris mbenaimm 
The Lord's chaste apostle, Bartholomew to whom I pray:,..
Canon O'Hanlon also notes the feast in Volume 8 of his Lives of the Irish Saints:

Festival of St. Bartholomew, Martyr. 

The festival of St. Bartholomew, Martyr, was observed in the early Irish Church, on the 25th of August, as may be found in the "Feilire" of St. Aengus. There his name takes the Irish form Parrthalon. To this, the scholiast has added an explanatory note in Latin.  Wherefore it seems we are to regard him as St. Bartholomew, the Apostle, and whose Acts are fully set forth by the Bollandists, at this date. These Acts have a previous learned commentary by the editor, Father John Stilting, SJ.; and they are followed by a narratives of the posthumous honours, translations, relics and miracles of this celebrated Apostle of the Indies.

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