After the reception of the Holy Spirit, Who descended upon the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire, it fell the lot of the holy Bartholomew, together with the Apostle Philip, to go to preach the gospel in Syria and Asia Minor. Thither they both betook themselves, preaching first together and then separately, throughout various cities, then coming together again, leading people to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
In preaching the Gospel in Asia Minor, the holy Philip was separated from the holy Bartholomew for a time and converted to Christ the wild and savage inhabitants of Lydia and Mysia. At that time, the holy Bartholomew, who was then preaching Christ in the neighboring cities, received a commandment from the Lord to go to the aid of the holy Philip. On being reunited with him, the holy Bartholomew struggled in Apostolic labors with him in oneness of mind. Philip was followed by his sister, Mariamne, a virgin, and all together they began to work for the salvation of the human race. Passing through the cities of Lydia and Mysia and spreading the good news of the Word of God, they endured many trials, floggings and tribulations at the hands of the infidels; they were imprisoned and stoned; and yet, despite all these persecutions, through the grace of God, they remained alive for the labors which awaited them in spreading the Faith of Christ.
In one of the villages of Lydia they encountered St. John the Theologian, the beloved disciple of Christ, and with him they journeyed to the land of Phrygia. Entering the city of Hierapolis, they preached Christ there. Now that city was full of idols which all its inhabitants worshipped; and among other false deities there was a certain immense viper, for which a special temple had been constructed. Thither they brought food and offered up countless and divers sacrifices. The mindless ones likewise honored other serpents and adders. First, the holy Philip and his sister armed themselves with prayer against the adder, and they were helped in this by the holy Bartholomew and John the Theologian, who was still with them at that time. All together they vanquished that serpent with prayer, as with a spear, and by the power of Christ they slew it. Thereafter, John the Theologian parted from them, leaving Hierapolis to them for the preaching of the Word of God, while he himself went on to other cities, spreading the holy glad tidings. But Philip, Bartholomew and Meriamne remained in Hierapolis, striving diligently to abolish the darkness of idolatry, that the light of the knowledge of the truth might shine among those astray. They labored over this day and night, teaching the Word of God to the unbelieving, upbraiding the foolish, and directing the erring to the path of truth.
In that city there lived a certain man by the name of Stachys, who had been blind for forty years. The holy Apostles, by the power of prayer, brought light to his bodily eyes, and with the preaching of Christ they also enlightened his spiritual blindness. Having baptized Stachys, the saints abode in his home. When the rumor was borne throughout the city that blind Stachys had recovered his sight, crowds of people began to gather at his house. The holy Apostles taught all who came to them faith in Christ Jesus. Many of the sick were also brought to them, and the holy Apostles healed all with prayer and drove out demons, so that a great number of people came to believe in Christ and were baptized.
The wife of the governor of that city, a man by the name of Nicanor, was bitten by a snake and lay sick, at death's door. Hearing of the holy Apostles who were lodging at the home of Stachys, that they were healing all manner of ailments with but a word, she, in her husband's absence, commanded her slaves to bear her to them. She received a twofold healing: bodily, from the serpent's bite; and spiritual, from demonic delusion; for, taught by the holy Apostles, she came to believe in Christ. When the governor returned home, his slaves informed him that his wife had been taught to believe in Christ from certain strangers who resided in the home of Stachys. Greatly angered, Nicanor ordered that the holy Apostles be arrested immediately, and that the house of Stachys be set afire, both of which orders were carried out. A multitude of the people assembled, and they dragged the holy Apostles Philip, Bartholomew, and even the holy virgin Mariamne, about the city, mocking them, beating them, and finally, casting them into prison. Thereafter, the governor of the city took his place in his tribunal to preside in judgment over those who preached Christ. There came to him all the priests of the idols and the priests of the slain serpent, lodging complaints against the holy Apostles saying, "O lord, avenge the dishonor done our gods, for ever since these strangers appeared in our city, the alters of our great gods have been forsaken, and the people forget to offer them their wonted sacrifices; our renowned goddess, the she-serpent, hath perished, and the whole city is filled with iniquity! Slay therefore these sorcerers!"
Then the governor of the city commanded that the holy Philip be stripped of his raiment, thinking that it contained his magic charms; but when they had removed it, they found nothing. They did likewise to the holy Bartholomew, but also found nothing in his garments. But when they approached Mariamne with the same intention, that is to remove her garments and strip naked her virginal body, she was suddenly transformed into a fiery flame in the sight of all, and the ungodly fled from her in fright. The holy Apostles were then condemned by the governor to crucifixion.
Not to repeat the martyrdom of St. Philip, which is written in his life, as God permits I shall move on to what happened after St. Philip was crucified. St. Bartholomew was also put on a cross, but after a certain miracle, they were able to take St. Bartholomew down before he died (the miracle resulted in their conversion to Christianity), but St. Philip was suspended too high and was upside down, thus he surrendered his soul into the hands of God.
Saint Bartholomew baptized those who had come to believe in the Lord and ordained Stachys as their bishop. The newly-converted Christian buried the body of the holy Apostle Philip with great honor. On the site where the blood of the holy Apostle was shed, a gapevine grew up within three days, as a sign that St. Philip was enjoying everlasting blessedness with his Lord in His Kingdom for the blood he had shed in Christ's name.
After the burial of the Apostle Philip, St. Bartholomew and the blessed virgin Mariamne spent a few more days in Hierapolis,making the newly-founded Church steadfast in the Faith of Christ, and thereafter they parted company. The Apostle Bartholomew went to the land of India, where he spent quite a long time laboring in the preaching of Jesus Christ, passing through cities and villages, and healing the sick in His name. Having illumined many pagans and established churches, he translated into their tongue the Gospel according to Matthew, which he had brought with him; and he presented it to them. He also left with them a Gospel written in the Hebrew language, which one hundred years later, was brought to Alexandria by the Christian philosopher Pantenus. From India, St. Bartholomew went to Greater Armenia. When he arrived in those parts, the idols, or better to say, the demons which inhabited the idols, fell silent screaming with their last words that Bartholomew was tormenting them and would soon drive them out. In actual fact, the unclean spirits were expelled not only from the idols, but from the people as well, with the mere approach of the Apostle; for this cause many were converted to Christ.
Polymius, the king of that land, had a daughter who was demonically possessed, through whose lips a demon cried out: "Bartholomew, wilt thou drive us away even from this place!" The king, hearing of this, ordered that Bartholomew be immediately found; and when the Apostle of Christ came to the possessed girl, the demon fled from her straightway, and the king's daughter received healing. Thereafter, the king desiring to show his gratitude to the saint, brought him camels loaded with gold, silver, pearls, and precious stones. The Apostle, in his great humility, kept nothing of what he had received for himself, but sent everything back to the king saying, "I do not seek such things, but rather the souls of men; and if I acquire them and bring them to the mansions of heaven, I will be a great merchant in the sight of the Lord." King Polymius, touched by such words, believed in Christ with all his household, and received baptism from the holy Apostle himself, together with his queen and his daughter whom the Apostle had healed, and a multitude of nobles, and a great number of the people of that land; for as many as ten cities and more received holy baptism at that time, following the example of their king.
But seeing this, the idolatrous priests were moved to anger against the holy Apostle, grieving greatly over the destruction of their gods, the decline of idolatry, and the abandonment of the temples from whence they had derived their livelihood. Approaching the king's brother Astiagus, they convinced him to slay Bartholomew and thus wreak vengeance upon him for the offenses to which their deities had been subjected. Astiagus, waiting for the right moment, seized the holy Apostle in the city of Albanus and crucified him on the cross head-downwards. The holy Apostle suffered jofully for Christ, and suspended upon the cross, did not cease to proclaim the Word of God. He made the faithful steadfast in faith, and exorted the unbelieving to know the truth and turn from the darkness of demons to the light of Christ. The tyrant refused to listen to this, and instead gave orders that the Apostle be flayed alive; yet the saint, enduring taught all concerning God and offered up glorification to Him. Finally, the tyrant commanded that the head of the holy Apostle Bartholomew be stricken from his body, together with his skin. His death took place in about the year AD 90.
DID YOU KNOW???
50% of children will lose their faith in college. 3 times more people will become an atheist than will find any faith whatsoever. Join us in our journey restoring faith in Jesus Christ to lost souls. There is a war being fought spiritually speaking. Our mission is to restore people to faith in Jesus Christ, but also equally important, a true understanding of ancient Christian belief and practice. The True God IS TRINITY. This is the truth expressed by the apostles, and it is the truth that we too will express.
JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN †††
Many times we wonder to ourselves, "Is Jesus really alive?" We question our faith because the world tries to tear us down by telling us that Jesus was a mere man. Is that true? If we examine the history, we shall see and be convinced of the TRUTH.
This is the gospel. Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead. It can be historically proven that the Christians were being tortured and killed as early as 49AD. 500 Christians claimed to have seen Christ risen from the dead all at once. Thousands were seeing the miracles. People being raised from the dead, healings by as little as touching Peter's shadow, Handkerchiefs from Paul worked mighty miracles, and prophecy was witnessed in its fulfillment. The early Christians were in a place to know if they were lying. Why would thousands of people make up and lie about Jesus being risen from the dead then get tortured for their lie. They were thrown to lions, they were crucified, they were burned alive, they were skinned alive, and just about every other imaginable torture. Only one conclusion. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.
The TALMUD is an ancient writing that was written by the Jews who put Jesus on trial and sought to kill Him. They hated Jesus, and had no reason to make Him sound better. In this ancient document they accused Jesus of deceiving the people with sorceries. They could not deny His miracles, but had to come up with another explanation because EVERYONE saw and knew He performed miracles. There is no solid basis for denying Jesus was in fact a miracle worker. Even Josephus who was a Jewish historian during that time wrote about Jesus and His miracles. He was writing to please the Romans and He would not have included it if it were not true, because the Romans would not have been pleased with it at all.
JOSH MCDOWELL also has an interesting story. He had actually tried to disprove the bible. When he was in law school some Christians challenged him to disprove the bible. He thought it would be a piece of cake. He was so serious about disproving the scriptures, that he quit school and went to Europe to study in the libraries enriched with material. He even felt that if he could disprove one point the whole thing would be disproven. Needless to say, he was addament and he would not give up easy. Then to everyone's amazement he came back a Christian. What he said was that the historical evidence would prove in the court of law that Jesus Christ is Resurrected from the dead. He has now written many books on the topic and he explains what convinced him. On of the most shocking discoveries he made was that the scriptures were actually written in the first century by the Apostles. He more thoroughly explains this in his book "EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT." (Click the link if you would like to purchase his book: it will be in the Christian books section) He said that if you were to destroy every single Christian New Testament including the ancient manuscripts you could still reconstruct the New Testament using early Church Father quotes of the New Testament except for 11 verses. The fact is that the New Testament is preserved authentically as it is supposed to be. It is not perfect, but close to it. He quotes all of the experts on this subject, and even the liberals have to admit that they could not have been written later than the 2nd century. Yet, even if they were written in the second century, I will explain why they are still accurate. However, Many experts do say that they could not possibly date beyond the first century. Namely because people that were alive in the first century quote the New Testament. Also after studying the book of Acts, they said that Luke was so detailed that when one studies they will find that the book of Acts simply won't fit in a second century setting, only in the first century.
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