St. Bartholomew the Apostle

Today (August 24) is the feast day of St. Bartholomew the Apostle. As implied by his honorific, St. Bartholomew was one of the twelve (technically thirteen if you count both Judas and his replacement...) who closely followed Jesus during his earthly ministry. And as implied by his iconography, he was also a total badass.

To celebrate their lives (and deaths), I've taken to creating LEGO minifigs of some of my influential saints. Yes, I know, I'm a nerd. Anyway, here's St. Bart:

Lifetime: 1st Century
Region: Galilee & Armenia
Patronages: Armenia; Cheesemongers; Plasterers; Leatherworkers (ouch!)
Iconograpy: Rolled-up scroll; Knife; His own flayed skin
Feast Day: August 24

Following Christ's ascension, St. Bartholomew (who may have also been Nathaniel from the gospel of John) traveled a ton to spread the word. Some legends have him going as far as India or Armenia, where he was martyred for converting the local monarch to Christianity. When the king's brother heard of the conversion, out of fear of Roman backlash against his nation, he wanted to make an example out of St. Bartholomew. So, naturally, he had Bart flayed alive, crucified upside-down, and/or beheaded (it was the first century, OK? Stories conflict.

One of the things I love about the Catholic church is her morbid sense of humor. Can you guess one of Bartholomew's patronages? Yes, St. Bartholomew is the patron saint of tanners and leather workers. He's not the only saint to advocate over his means of death, either. Earlier this month we celebrated the martyrdom of St. Lawrence, who, while being burned alive for his mission, is known for directing his killers to "Turn me over, I'm done on this side." His patronages include firefighters and comedians.

I'm planning to start doing these every month, so watch for next month's edition of Lego Hagiography!

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