San Bartolomeo Apostolo

It is commonly held that San Bartolomeo (Saint Bartholomew in English) is actually the apostle Nathaniel, as described in scripture.  The name "Bartolomeo" means "son of Tolomy" so it's likely that the apostle went by both names during his lifetime. San Bartolomeo was preaching in Armenia when he was viciously martyred for his beliefs.  His remains were placed in a box and thrown out to sea.  A roman vessel picked up the box and the remains found their way to Lipari.  They were kept there for hundreds of years until the Church ordered they be sent to Rome where a shrine was constructed in San Bartolomeo's honor.  The people of Lipari cherished San Bartolomeo for the good fortune that they believe his presence bestowed on their island.  This same devotion for the saint was transferred to Ustica when the last, permanent inhabitants arrived there from Lipari in 1762.

The image of San Bartolomeo to the left is of a large statue kept in an apse of San Feridnando Re Church in Ustica.  Draped over the figures right arm are the skin and head of San Bartolomeo resulting from his horrific death.  The figure is also that of San Bartolomeo, an image of dual representation.  (An article in the 1978 Italian American Digest quoted an incorrect statement that the figure was that of San Bartolomeo's killer.)  This statue is carried in the procession for the feast day of San Bartolomeo.  Also at the church in Ustica, are many ex-votos -  small charms and figures in the shapes of body parts dedicated to San Bartolomeo in the hopes that a cure for the ailment will occur.  They often have names and dates on them also.

August 24th is the feast day of San Bartolomeo.

Below are some photos submitted by Pietro Bertucci of Rome during the 2002 San Bartolomeo celebration in Ustica