Saint Andrew

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Saint Andrew the Apostle
José de Ribera San Andrés.jpg
Saint Andrew, by José de Ribera
Apostle, First-called
Born early 1st century
Died mid- to late 1st century AD
Venerated in All Christianity; Islam
Major shrine Church of St Andreas at Patras, with his relics
Feast November 30
Attributes Old man with long (in the East often untidy) white hair and beard, holding the Gospel Book or scroll, sometimes leaning on a saltire
Patronage Scotland, Ukraine, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Diocese of Parañaque, Philippines, Amalfi, Luqa (Malta) and Prussia; Diocese of Victoria fishermen, fishmongers, rope-makers, golfers and performers

Saint Andrew (Greek: Ἀνδρέας, Andreas; from the early 1st century—mid to late 1st century AD), called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" (Greek: manly, brave, from ἀνδρεία, Andreia, "manhood, valour"), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews, Christians, and other Hellenized peoples of the region. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him. He is considered the founder and the first bishop of the Church of Byzantium and is consequently the patron saint of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.


The New Testament states that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, by which it is inferred that he was likewise a son of John, or Jonah.[Mt. 16:17] [Jn. 1:42] He was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee.[Jn. 1:44] Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he will make them "fishers of men" (Greek: ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων, halieĩs anthrōpōn).[1] At the beginning of Jesus' public life, they were said to have occupied the same house at Capernaum.[Mk. 1:21-29]

The Gospel of John states that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him and John the Evangelist to follow Jesus.[Jn. 1:35-40] Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and hastened to introduce him to his brother.[Jn. 1:41] Thenceforth, the two brothers were disciples of Christ. On a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the Apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and then they left all things to follow Jesus.[2]

In the gospels Andrew is referred to as being present on some important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus,[3]

Eusebius quotes Origen as saying Andrew preached along the Black Sea as far as the Volga, Kiev and Novgorod. Hence he became a patron saint of Ukraine, Romania and Russia. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium (Constantinople)[4] in AD 38, installing Stachys as bishop. According to Hippolytus of Rome, he preached in Thrace, and his presence in Byzantium is also mentioned in the apocryphal Acts of Andrew, written in the 2nd century; Basil of Seleucia also knew of Apostle Andrew's mission in Thrace, as well as Scythia and Achaia.[5] This diocese would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Andrew is recognized as its patron saint.

Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras (Patræ) in Achaea, on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. Early texts, such as the Acts of Andrew known to Gregory of Tours,[6] describe Andrew as bound, not nailed, to a Latin cross of the kind on which Jesus is said to have been crucified; yet a tradition developed that Andrew had been crucified on a cross of the form called Crux decussata (X-shaped cross, or "saltire"), now commonly known as a "Saint Andrew's Cross" — supposedly at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus had been (though of course, the privilege of choosing one's own method of execution is a rare privilege, indeed).[7] "The familiar iconography of his martyrdom, showing the apostle bound to an X-shaped cross, does not seem to have been standardized before the later Middle Ages," Judith Calvert concluded after re-examining the materials studied by Louis Réau.[8]


Andrew is the patron saint of the city of Patras.

The Acts of AndrewEdit

Martyrdom of andrew

Crucifixion of St. Andrew.

The apocryphal Acts of Andrew, mentioned by Eusebius, Epiphanius and others, is among a disparate group of Acts of the Apostles that were traditionally attributed to Leucius Charinus. "These Acts (...) belong to the third century: ca. A.D. 260," was the opinion of M. R. James, who edited them in 1924. The Acts, as well as a Gospel of St Andrew, appear among rejected books in the Decretum Gelasianum connected with the name of Pope Gelasius I. The Acts of Andrew was edited and published by Constantin von Tischendorf in the Acta Apostolorum apocrypha (Leipzig, 1821), putting it for the first time into the hands of a critical professional readership. Another version of the Andrew legend is found in the Passio Andreae, published by Max Bonnet (Supplementum II Codicis apocryphi, Paris, 1895).



Reliquary of St. Andrew at Patras.

Saint Andreas

The shrine to Saint Andreas in Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican City

Relics of the Apostle Andrew are kept at the Basilica of St Andrew in Patras, Greece; the Duomo di Sant'Andrea, Amalfi, Italy; St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland;[9] and the Church of St Andrew and St Albert, Warsaw, Poland. There are also numerous smaller reliquaries throughout the world.

St Jerome wrote that the relics of St Andrew were taken from Patras to Constantinople by order of the Roman emperor Constantius II around 357 and deposited in the Church of the Holy Apostles. The head of Andrew was given by the Byzantine despot Thomas Palaeologus to Pope Pius II in 1461. It was enshrined in one of the four central piers of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. In September 1964, Pope Paul VI, as a gesture of goodwill toward the Greek Orthodox Church, ordered that all of the relics of St Andrew that were in Vatican City be sent back to Patras. The relics, which consist of the small finger, part of the top of the cranium of Andrew, and small portions of the cross on which he was martyred, have since that time been kept in the Church of St Andrew at Patras in a special shrine and are revered in a special ceremony every November 30, his feast day.


In 1208, following the sack of Constantinople, those relics of St Andrew and St Peter which remained in the imperial city were taken to Amalfi, Italy, by Cardinal Peter of Capua, a native of Amalfi. The Amalfi cathedral (Duomo), dedicated to St Andrew (as is the town itself), contains a tomb in its crypt that it maintains still contains the rest of the relics of the apostle. On 8 May 2008 the relic believed to be Andrew's head was returned to Amalfi Cathedral.

Traditions and legendsEdit

Georgia Edit

The church tradition of Georgia regards St. Andrew as the first preacher of Christianity in the territory of Georgia and as the founder of the Georgian church. This tradition was apparently derived from the Byzantine sources, particularly Nicetas of Paphlagonia (died c. 890) who asserts that "Andrew preached to the Iberians, Sauromatians, Taurians, and Scythians and to every region and city, on the Black Sea, both north and south."[10] The version was adopted by the 10th-11th-century Georgian ecclesiastics and, refurbished with more details, was inserted in the Georgian Chronicles. The story of St. Andrew’s mission in the Georgian lands endowed the Georgian church with apostolic origin and served as a defense argument to George the Hagiorite against the encroachments from the Antiochian church authorities on autocephaly of the Georgian church. Another Georgian monk, Ephraim the Minor, produced a thesis, reconciling St. Andrew’s story with an earlier evidence of the 4th-century conversion of Georgians by St. Nino and explaining the necessity of the “second Christening” by Nino. The thesis was made canonical by the Georgian church council in 1103.[11][12]


The first reference regarding the first small chapel at Luqa dedicated to Andrew dates to 1497. The pastoral visit of Mgr. Pietro Dusina affirms that this chapel contained three altars, one of them dedicated to Andrew. The titular painting showing "Mary with Saints Andrew and Paul" was painted by the Maltese artist Filippo Dingli.

At one time, many fishermen lived in the village of Luqa, and this may be the main reason behind choosing Andrew as patron saint. The titular statue of Andrew was sculpted in wood by Giuseppe Scolaro in 1779. This statue underwent several restoration works including that of 1913 performed by the Maltese renowned artist Abraham Gatt. The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew on the main altar of the church was painted by Mattia Preti in 1687.


The official stance of the Romanian Orthodox Church is that Andrew preached the Gospel to the Daco-Romans in the province of Dobrogea (Scythia Minor), whom he is said to have converted to Christianity. There have been some ancient Christian symbols found carved in a cave called Basarabi, near Constanţa harbor, which have been used for propaganda purposes in the communist era and beyond as part of the protochronism ideology, which purports that the Orthodox Church has been a companion and defender of the Romanian people for all of its history.[13] This theory is largely dismissed by scholars.

Ukraine, Romania, and RussiaEdit

Predskazanie Kiev sv Andrey

St Andrew's prophecy of Kiev depicted in Radzivill Chronicle.

File:Andrey Pervozvannij.jpg
Saint Andrew's Church of Kiev photo by Yuriy Kolodin

The Kievan hill where St. Andrew is said to have erected the cross is commemorated by the cathedral dedicated in his name

Naval Ensign of Russia

Naval Ensign of Russia

Naval Jack of Russia

Naval Jack of Russia

Early Christian History in Ukraine holds that the apostle Andrew is said to have preached on the southern borders of modern-day Ukraine, along the Black Sea. Legend has it that he travelled up the Dnieper River and reached the future location of Kiev, where he erected a cross on the site where the St. Andrew's Church of Kiev currently stands, and prophesied the foundation of a great Christian city, Jerusalem of the Russian land.

It was in the obvious interest of Kievan Rus' and its later Russian and Ukraninian successors, striving in numerous ways to link themselves with the political and religious heritage of Byzantium, to claim such a direct visit from the famous. Claiming direct lineage from St. Andrew also had the effect of disregarding any theological leanings of Greek Orthodoxy over which disagreement arose, since the actual "indirect" proselytising via Byzantium was bypassed altogether. Still, as the same source quotes [7], Andrew only preached to the southern shore of the Black Sea (current Turkey).


Flag of Scotland

The Saltire (or "St. Andrew's Cross") is the national flag of Scotland

About the middle of the 10th century, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. Several legends state that the relics of Andrew were brought under supernatural guidance from Constantinople to the place where the modern town of St Andrews stands today (Gaelic, Cill Rìmhinn).

The oldest surviving manuscripts are two: one is among the manuscripts collected by Jean-Baptiste Colbert and willed to Louis XIV of France, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, the other in the Harleian Mss in the British Library, London. They state that the relics of Andrew were brought by one Regulus to the Pictish king Óengus mac Fergusa (729–761). The only historical Regulus (Riagail or Rule) — the name is preserved by the tower of St Rule — was an Irish monk expelled from Ireland with Saint Columba; his dates, however, are c 573 – 600. There are good reasons for supposing that the relics were originally in the collection of Acca, bishop of Hexham, who took them into Pictish country when he was driven from Hexham (c. 732), and founded a see, not, according to tradition, in Galloway, but on the site of St Andrews. The connection made with Regulus is, therefore, due in all probability to the desire to date the foundation of the church at St Andrews as early as possible.

According to legend, in 832 AD, Óengus II led an army of Picts and Scots into battle against the Angles, led by Æthelstan, near modern-day Athelstaneford, East Lothian. The legend states that whilst engaged in prayer on the eve of battle, Óengus vowed that if granted victory he would appoint Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland. On the morning of battle white clouds forming an X shape in the sky were said to have appeared. Óengus and his combined force, emboldened by this apparent divine intervention, took to the field and despite being inferior in terms of numbers were victorious. Having interpreted the cloud phenomenon as representing the crux decussata upon which Saint Andrew was crucified, Óengus honoured his pre-battle pledge and duly appointed Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland. The white saltire set against a celestial blue background is said to have been adopted as the design of the flag of Scotland on the basis of this legend.[14] However, there is evidence Andrew was venerated in Scotland before this.

Andrew's connection with Scotland may have been reinforced following the Synod of Whitby, when the Celtic Church felt that Columba had been "outranked" by Peter and that Peter's brother would make a higher ranking patron. The 1320 Declaration of Arbroath cites Scotland's conversion to Christianity by Andrew, "the first to be an Apostle". Numerous parish churches in the Church of Scotland and congregations of other Christian churches in Scotland are named after Andrew. The national church of the Scottish people in Rome, Sant'Andrea degli Scozzesi is dedicated to St Andrew.


Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Patras in Greece, Amalfi in Italy, Luqa in Malta, and Esgueira in Portugal. He was also the patron saint of Prussia and of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The flag of Scotland (and consequently the Union Flag which also features on the flags of Australia, New Zealand and the arms and flag of Nova Scotia) feature St Andrew's saltire cross. The saltire is also the flag of Tenerife, the flag of Galicia and the naval jack of Russia. The Confederate flag also features a saltire commonly referred to as a St Andrew's cross, although its designer, William Porcher Miles, said he changed it from an upright cross to a saltire so that it would not be a religious symbol but merely a heraldic device. The Florida and Alabama flags also show that device.

The feast of Andrew is observed on November 30 in both the Eastern and Western churches, and is the national day of Scotland. In the traditional liturgical books of the Catholic Church, the feast of St. Andrew is the first feast day in the Proper of Saints.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Metzger & Coogan (1993) Oxford Companion to the Bible, p 27.
  2. ^ Lk. 5:11, Matthew 4:19-20, Mark 1:17-18
  3. ^ Mark 13:3; John 6:8, 12:22; but in Acts there is only one mention of him. 1:13
  4. ^ The only bishopric in that neighbourhood before that time had been established at Heraclea.
  5. ^ Encyclopedia of early Christianity by Everett Ferguson, p. 51.
  6. ^ In Monumenta Germaniae Historica II, cols. 821-847, translated in M.R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford) reprinted 1963:369.
  7. ^ The legends surrounding Andrew are discussed in F. Dvornik, "The Idea of Apostolicity in Byzantium and the Legend of the Apostle Andrew", Dumbarton Oaks Studies, IV (Cambridge) 1958.
  8. ^ Judith Calvert, "The Iconography of the St. Andrew Auckland Cross", The Art Bulletin 66.4 (December 1984:543-555) p. 545, note 12; according to Louis Réau, Iconographie de l'art chrétien III.1 (Paris) 1958:79, St. Andrew's Cross appeared for the first time in the tenth century, but did not become an iconographic standard before the seventeenth. Calvert was unable to find a sculptural representation of Andrew on the saltire cross earlier than an architectural capital from Quercy, of the early twelfth century.
  9. ^ "National Shrine of Saint Andrew", St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh
  10. ^ Peterson, Peter Megill (1958), Andrew, Brother of Simon Peter: His History and Legends, p. 20. E. J. Brill
  11. ^ Rapp, Stephen H. (2003), Studies in Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts And Eurasian Contexts, p. 433. Peeters Publishers, ISBN 90-429-1318-5
  12. ^ Djobadze, Wachtang Z., "Materials for the Study of Georgian Monasteries in the Western Environs of Antioch on the Orontes", pp. 82-83. Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, vol. 372, subsidia 48. Louvain, 1976.
  13. ^ Lavinia Stan, Lucian Turcescu, Religion and Politics in Post-Communist Romania, Oxford University Press, 2007, p.48
  14. ^ Lawson, John Parker, History of the Abbey and Palace of Holyroodhouse published 1848 p. 169 [1]


External linksEdit

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Preceded by
New creation
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Before 38
Succeeded by
Stachys the Apostle

NAME Andrew

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