Many who attend mass today may wonder why on the Feast of St. Bartholomew we read a gospel about Philip and Nathaniel. The reason is simple; Nathaniel is Bartholomew. It's not that his name changed. The prefix Bar means "son of", so the name Bartholomew simple identifies his Father, similar to many Scandinavian last names (Johnson, Peterson, etc.)
While in the western church we do not focus much attention on him, his feast date marked the beginning of the year for Coptic Orthodox Christians. It was at the great Oasis of Kharga in Egypt that St. Bartholomew brought the son of an official back to life.
Today we pray for those Christians in Egypt, Coptic and other, who have kept the faith alive despite persecutions which we could hardly imagine. It was Blessed John Paul II who referred to Orthodox and Catholic, saying in Ut Unum Sint, "that the Church must breath with two lungs."
Jesus said of Bartholomew in the Gospel, in him there was no duplicity. May the people of Egypt have such a leader. And may peace be with them.