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Saint Andrew the Apostle

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”20 At once they left their nets and followed him

Saint Andrew (Or in Greek : Ἀνδρέας meaning strong, brave, or manly; ܐܢܕܪܐܘܣ in Aramaic) was born between the year 5 AD and 10 AD in Bethsaida, a town along the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee. Both Saint Andrew and his brother Saint Peter were fishermen and lived in the same house of Capernaum.

In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, we read that both brothers were together in the boat one day when Jesus Christ called them to join him and become fishers of men (ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων). The Gospel of Luke tells same story, but without explicitly stating the other fisherman in the boat with Saint Peter was his brother Saint Andrew (though it is clear that Saint Luke does not claim it is any other fisher than Saint Andrew in the boat with Saint Peter). In the Gospel of John, we find that before the fishing day, Saint Andrew had already met and become an disciple of Saint John the Baptist. When he recognized Christ as the Messiah, he made haste to tell his brother of what he had discovered. Because of this, the Byzantine church renders him honor with the title of Protokletos or Πρωτόκλητος (The first called).

In the Gospels we see that Saint Andrew was close to Christ - Saint Andrew was named as the apostle who informed Jesus about the boy asking about the loaves and fishes, he was present at the Last Supper, and one of the four disciples who asked about signs for the end of the age on the Mount of Olives.

After Pentecost, Saint Andrew began his preaching in Scythia where he would follow the Dnieper River up from the Black Sea to far flung locales such as Kiev (in Modern Day Ukraine) and Novgorod (in modern day Russia). He also preached in Greece and Turkey, founding the See of Byzantium in 38 AD with Stachys as Bishop. Saint Andrew was martyred by crucifixition in the city of Patras in Achaea (a western part of Greece). Believing himself to be unworthy of being crucified on the same type of cross as Christ, he was bound (instead of nailed) to an X shaped cross now called a crux decussata and informally known as Saint Andrew's Cross. Saint Andrew's remains were originally kept at Patras, but a monk named Saint Regulus had a dream in which he was told to hide the bones.

Saint Regulus translated some of the relics from Patras to Constantinople around 357 AD to the Church of the Holy Apostles. He then had a second dream, where an Angel told him to take the remaining relics to the ends of the earth for protection and to build a shrine for them wherever he was shipwrecked. Tradition holds that he gathered a kneecap, arm bone, three fingers and a tooth and set sail to the West, to the very edges of the known world at the time. Eventually, he shipwrecked on the coast of Fife, Scotland.

In 1208, following Constantinople's sacking, the relics of Saint Andrew and Saint Peter were taken to Amalfi Italy and a Cathedral dedicated to Saint Andrew was built. In September 1964, in a gesture of goodwill towards the Greek Orthodox church, Pope Paul VI ordered all relics of Saint Andrew that were housed in Vatican City be returned to Patras. These relics (a small finger, the skull and the cross in which he was martyred) are enshrined at the Church of Saint Andrew in Patras and revered with ceremony every November 30th.

Regional Traditions


According to legends found from the 16th century, King Oengus II led an army of Picts and Scots against the Angles in modern day East Lothian and were severely outnumbered. The night before battle King Oengus retired to his tent in prayer and promised he would appoint Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland if he would intercede for them and grant victory. Seeing a Saint Andrew's cross in the clouds (a X), his army took to battle and won despite such great odds. King Oengus II immediately made Saint Andrew the patron Saint of Scotland and the modern day Scottish flag was designed based on this legend (A white Saint Andrew's cross on top a blue background). In 1320, Scotland issued the Declaration of Arbroath that cites Scotland's conversion to Christianity by Andrew and declares him to be the first to bean Apostle. The national church of the Scottish people in Rome is Sant'Andrea degli Scozzesi and is dedicated to Saint Andrew. During medieval times, Scottish homes had a cross of Saint Andrew on the fire places as a hex to prevent witches from flying down the chimney and entering the house.


There is an ancient tradition that tells of a time when a ship carrying Saint Andrew ran aground. While walking onto the land, Saint Andrew struck his staff into the ground, causing a spring to come gushing forth - the captain had a bad eye that was miraculously healed when he submerged his head into the water. Though this location was a site of pilgrimage well into the 12th century, Isaac Comnenus surrounded the land to Richard the Lionheart and a small chapel was built over the location.


The Romanian Orthodox Church holds tradition that Saint Andrew preached in Scythia Minor to the Daco-Romans, converting many.


The Georgian church holds that Saint Andrew was the founder of the church in Georgia and preached throughout the lands that comprise modern day Georgia. Nicetas of Paphlagonia writes

"Andrew preached to the Iberians, Sauromatians, Taurians, and Scythians and to every region and city, on the Black Sea, both north and south."

The Georgian Orthodox Church has two feast days in Saint Andrew's honor - on May 12th and December 13th. Because May 12th is celebrated as the day Saint Andrew arrived in Georgia, the government celebrates it as a public holiday.

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