Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He has been identified with Nathanael, who appears in the Gospel according to John as being introduced to Christ by Philip (who would also become an apostle), although some modern commentators reject the identification of Nathanael with Bartholomew.
According to the Synaxarium of the Coptic Orthodox Church, his martyrdom is commemorated on the first day of the Coptic Calendar, which currently falls on September 11 (corresponding to August 29 in the Julian Calendar). His feast is June 11 in Eastern Christianity and August 24 in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, Anglican Communion and both forms of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.
Of the many miracles claimed to have been performed by Bartholomew before and after his death, two very popular ones are known by the townsfolk of the small island of Lipari.
The people of Lipari celebrated his feast day annually. The tradition of the people was to take the solid silver and gold statue from inside the Cathedral of St Bartholomew and carry it through the town. On one occasion, when taking the statue down the hill towards the town, it suddenly became very heavy and had to be set down. When the men carrying the statue regained their strength, they lifted it a second time. After another few seconds, it got even heavier. They set it down and attempted once more to pick it up. They managed to lift it but had to put it down one last time. Within seconds, walls further downhill collapsed. If the statue had been able to be lifted, all the townspeople would have been killed.
During World War II, the Fascist regime looked for ways to finance their activities. The order was given to take the silver statue of Saint Bartholomew and melt it down. The statue was weighed, and it was found to be only a few grams. It was returned to its place in the Cathedral of Lipari. In reality, the statue is made from many kilograms of silver and it is considered a miracle that it was not melted down.
Saint Bartholomew is credited with many other miracles having to do with the weight of objects.