St. Andrew, Apostle

Today, November 30, is the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle.

John 1:35-42

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephus” (which is translated Peter).

According to the Gospels, Andrew was one of the first of the Apostles to follow Jesus. He is also the one who introduced Peter to Jesus. Andrew’s influence on the Church was enormous, if only for these two reasons.

But, there is more to his story, of course. Andrew was the one who told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes (Jn 6:8). He was the one Philip consulted when Greeks desired to meet with Jesus (Jn 12:20-22). Andrew was one of the four who came to Jesus on the Mount of Olives to ask about signs of the end times (Mk 13:3).

According to tradition, Andrew preached the gospel in Scythia and along the Black Sea. He is credited with founding the church in Byzantium in AD 38, which became the Patriarchate of Constantinople. St. Andrew remains the patron of the Patriarchate, along with St. Stachys, its first bishop, whom Andrew installed.

Tradition holds that Andrew was martyred by crucifixion in the city of Patras in Achaea in AD 60. Not feeling worthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as the Lord, Andrew was bound to an X-shaped cross. The X-shaped cross, which is part of the flags of England and Scotland, is known as “St. Andrew’s Cross”.

St. Andrew is the patron of many countries, including Scotland, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Greece. He is the patron of fishermen and rope makers.

In September 1964, Pope St. Paul VI had all of the relics of St. Andrew, including his skull, returned to Patras, to be kept under the care of the Greek Orthodox Church. The relic of St. Andrew’s cross, which had been taken from Greece during the Crusades, was returned in 1980. St. Andrew’s relics are kept in a shrine in the Church of St. Andrew in Patras.

The apocryphal Acts of St. Andrew can be found here.

Lord, in your kindness hear our petition. You called Andrew the apostle to preach the Gospel and guide your Church in faith. May he always be our friend in your presence to help us with his prayers. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (from The Litrugy of the Hours, Feast of St. Andrew).

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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