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Who was Saint Andrew?

Saint Andrew the Apostle was the brother of Simon Peter. While Andrew was not part of the inner circle of disciples (Peter, James, and John), he is always named in the list of disciples and is named prominently in several incidents. The Gospel according to John has Andrew as a disciple of John the Baptist who quickly followed Jesus when the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said "Behold the Lamb of God." Andrew and another disciple went and stayed with Jesus and his first act was to find his brother, Simon and bring him to Jesus. Matthew shows Andrew to be a fisherman, who with his brother Simon, immediately dropped their nets and followed Jesus when called. Andrew is also the disciple who brought the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus for the feeding of the multitude. Andrew, often referred to as the First Called, might be thought of as the first missionary in the company of disciples.

One ancient text - The Acts of Andrew - narrate Andrew's departure from Jerusalem to be a missionary and later to rescue another disciple, Matthias, from cannibals. He then went about exorcising demons, healing the sick, and raising the dead. He also was known for breaking up families by preaching mandatory celibacy. According to this text, Andrew converted Macimilla, the wife of the Roman proconsul Aegeates in Acheaea (in the region of the Black Sea), and she thereafter forswore sex with her husband. Subsequently Aegeates crucified the apostle next to the sea. Other traditions tell that Andrew was fastened to an X-shaped cross and suffered death at the hands of angry pagans. Some historians claimed that virtually every tribe on the shores of the Black Sea appealed to Andrew as the founder of its Church.

Reportedly, in the year 357, Andrew's remains were deposited in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, along with those of Luke and Timothy. Sometime in the 8th century, Andrew was used to legitimate Byzantine claims to apostolicity. For years, the church in Rome has claimed Peter as its founder. On the other hand, Byzantium could claim no founding apostle. This was not a problem as long as Rome and Byzantium were on good terms, but when the two great church centers parted ways, Byzantium was desperate to have a apostolic pedigree. Andrew was perfect for this purpose because, according to the Gospel of John, it was Andrew who brought Peter to Jesus. Andrew came to be known as Protokletos - The First Called.

Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland. In 1204 crusaders stole Andrew's relics from Constantinople and took them to Amalfi, Italy. According to Celtic tradition the apostle's arm was taken to St. Andrew's, Scotland, where the archdiocese still celebrates the event each May 9th. Anglo-Saxon renderings of the Acts of Andrew show his importance in the British Isles at an early date.

In iconography, Andrew often appears with unkempt hair and a long beard, attended by a ship, a fish, or a net. His most distinctive signature is the X-shaped cross, a prominent feature of the Episcopal Shield, and his feast day in the Anglican Church is November 30th.

A Prayer for St. Andrew's Day
Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give us, who are called by your Holy Word, grace to follow Christ without delay, and to bring those near to us into Christ's gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Scripture's for St. Andrew's Day
Deuteronomy 30:11-14
Psalm 19 (or 19:1-6)
Romans 10:8b-18
Matthew 4:18-22

(source: Lesser Feasts and Fasts; The Anchor Bible Dictionary)