Saint Andrew’s Day is November 30.
Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Greece and Russia and was Christ’s first disciple.
There are around 600 pre-Reformation churches in England named after Saint Andrew, in contrast to Scotland’s handful of churches of all denominations named after the saint. Nevertheless, it was Scotland that adopted Andrew as its patron – probably because, Saint Andrew being the brother of Saint Peter, it gave the Scots considerable political leverage with the Pope in pleading for help against the belligerent English!
In Greek Andrew means
‘manly’. St. Andrew’s biographical details are simple: he was born
between AD 5 and AD 10 in Bethsaida, the principal fishing port of
Palestine. His parents were Jona and Joanna; his brother was Simon.
Jona, along with his business-partner and friend Zebedee and his sons
James and John, was a fisherman.
Andrew had a strong sense of
curiosity. He would have gone to the synagogue school at the age of five
to study scripture and then astronomy and arithmetic.
the banks of the Jordan, Andrew met John the Baptist: he was the first
disciple and the first apostle. It was he who brought the boy with the
loaves and fishes to Jesus before the feeding of the five thousand.
to the apocryphal ‘Acts of Andrew’ he is said to have travelled to Asia
Minor and the Black Sea. In the city of Synope he is believed to have
suffered great hardships and the house he was in was nearly burnt down.
He returned twice more to Asia Minor and Greece, even travelling as far
as Hungary, Russia and to the banks of the Oder in Poland.
Greece, Andrew forced his way through a forest inhabited by wolves,
bears and tigers. Finally, in Patras, he was given the choice of being
offered as a sacrifice to the gods or being scourged and crucified. By
his own request the cross was diagonal. He, like his brother Peter, felt
himself unworthy to be crucified on the upright cross of Christ.
hung for three days on the cross, fixed not by nails but by rope round
his hands and feet. Even in his last agony, he continued to preach. So
ended the life of Saint Andrew. What happened to his body, however, is
the next part of the story.
St. Andrew’s relics were
translated from Patrae to Constantinople, and deposited in the church of
the Apostles there, about A.D. 357. When Constantinople was taken by
the French, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, Cardinal Peter
of Capua brought the relics to Italy and placed them in the cathedral of
Amalfi, where most of them still remain. St. Andrew is honoured as
their chief patron by Russia and Scotland.
Prayer to St. Andrew
O Glorious Saint Andrew,
you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God.
With your friend Saint John you remained
with Jesus for that first day,
for your entire life, and now throughout eternity.
As you led your brother Saint Peter to Christ and many others after him,
draw us also to Him.
Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for Him
and dedication in His service.
Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross
and to carry our daily crosses without complaint
so that they may carry us to Jesus.