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Saint Andrew - Feast Day November 30th

An icon of St. Andrew

He was born in Bethesaida in Galilee. The date of his birth is unknown. Both he and his brother were fishermen who lived in the same house in Capernmun a small village by the sea of Galilee. Andrew had been a diciple of John the Baptist. It was through St. John that Andrew came to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

Both Andrew and his brother Peter left their trade as fishermen after being selected by Jesus to be his apostles. Andrew was selected first and his title has been: Andrew the first called.

Andrew has been considered an important leader and listed among the first four apostles. Besides introducing his brother to Jesus, the only other reference to him in the New Testament occurs in Mark, when he joined with Peter, James and John in questioning Jesus about the end times. There is also reference to him in the Gospel of St. John during the feeding of the five thousand. It was Andrew who said: "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fishes" A few days before Jesus was crusified certain Greeks asked Philip if they could meet Jesus. Philip referred the matter to Andrew as one with greater authority.

There is very little written about St. Andrew in the Bible. From what the scriptures say about the Apostles generally, it is possible to discern a few details about his life. As one of the Twelve, Andrew was admitted to the closest familiarity with our Lord. He was present at the Last Supper and was a witness to the ressurection aand ascension. He was present at Pentecost, received the grace of the Holy Spirit and was involved in establishing the Faith in Palestine.

St. Andrew took on an important role when the Apostles began spreading the Gospel outside Israel. He preached in Cappadocia, Galatia, and Bithynia, then in the land of the anthropophagi and the Scythian deserts, afterwards in Byzantium itself, where he appointed St. Stachys as its first bishop, and finally in Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Achaia. He was crucified by order of the Roman Governor; Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia. He was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. His martyrdom took place during the reign of Nero, on 30 November, A.D. 60. The cross on which he suffered is the decussate cross, now known as the cross of St. Andrew.

The Relics of St. Andrew were translated by Emperor Constantine the Great from Patrae to Constantinople, and deposited in the Church of the Apostles in A.D. 357. Saint Regulus was given some of St. Andrew’s relics by the Byzantine Emporer to be taken to Scotland where he founded the settlement of Saint Andrew. This reveals a close connection between Celtic Christians and the Eastern Church before they were latiniized by papal missionaries.

When Constantinople was sacked in 1204 by Latin invaders his relics were stolden by Cardinal Peter of Capua and brought to Italy and placed in the cathedral of Amalfi, where most of them remain today.

"St. Andrew was always in the background but was with our Lord at critical moments. He was concerned about bringing people to Christ. I pray that I can follow his leadership style and his missionary zeal."

Submitted by Fr. Andrew Harrison

For a description of this icon and the troparion and kontakion for this saint please click here