Bartholomew is usually identified as Nathaniel (alternate spelling: Nathanael). He was introduced to Christ through Philip. He is also mentioned as “Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee” in (John 21:2), in connection with the account of Jesus' miracle at the Marriage at Cana (some believe he was the bridegroom at the wedding).
When Nathanael made his appearance in the Gospels, he did so with a touch of friendly sarcasm and smiling irony. Philip was advising Nathanael somewhat in detail and dogmatically, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets wrote, Jesus the son of Joseph of Nazareth.". The mischievous Nathanael replied discreetly, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Perhaps Nathanael spoke these words of mockery about Nazareth with certain contempt of familiarity that is so often found between two neighbouring villages. Cana, the home of this apostle, lay only about nine miles from Nazareth.
One ancient author from between the middle of the fifth and sixth centuries describes Bartholomew as:- Bartholomew had black, curly hair, which covered his ears. His complexion was fair. He had big eyes and a rather large nose. His stature was well-balanced, not too small and not too large. He wore a white robe trimmed in crimson, and also a white cloak, the hem of which was embellished with red jewels.
Bartholomew was often described as cheerful, tireless, and happy.
It is believed that after the Ascension, Bartholomew went on a missionary tour to India (mainly Mumbai region), where he left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew.
Along with his fellow apostle Jude, Bartholomew is reputed to have brought Christianity to Armenia in the 1st century. Thus both saints are considered the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
He is said to have converted Polymius, the king of Armenia, to Christianity. Astyages (Polymius' brother) consequently ordered Bartholemew's execution (in Albanopolis in Armenia). According to one account, he was beheaded, but a more popular tradition holds that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward.
According to the Synaxarium of the Coptic Orthodox Church [Egypt], his martyrdom is commemorated on the 1st day of the Coptic Calendar (August 29). The festival in August has been a traditional occasion for markets and fairs, such as the Bartholomew Fair held in Smithfield, London since the Middle Age