The Apostle Saint Andrew

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St. Andrew

According to the New Testament, Andrew the Apostle, also known as Saint Andrew, was a disciple of Jesus.

He is the brother of Saint Peter.

In the Orthodox tradition, he is known as the First-Called.

The Patriarch of Constantinople is the apostolic successor to Saint Andrew, according to Orthodox tradition.

Andrew was born in the early first century in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee, according to the New Testament. Andrew, like his younger brother Simon Peter, was a fisherman. Andrew’s name means “strong,” and he was well-known for his social skills.

According to Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee when he noticed Andrew and Simon Peter fishing.

Then he asked them to be disciples and “fishers of men.”

Andrew is not named in the Gospel of Luke at first. It describes Jesus using a boat, thought to be solely Simon’s, to preach to the multitudes and catch a large amount of fish on a previously dry night. Later, in Luke 5:7, it is mentioned that Simon was not the only fisherman on the boat, but it is not mentioned until Luke 6:14 that Andrew is Simon Peter’s brother.

Saint Andrew Birth/Early Life

There are a few Andrew the Apostle Facts that you should know like for instance that St Andrew was born between the years of 5 and 10 in Bethsaida, Palestine’s main fishing port. His parents’ names were Jona and Joanna, and he had a brother called Simon.

Jona was a fisherman, along with his business partner and friend Zebedee and his sons James and John.

Andrew was naturally inquisitive.

He would have started attending synagogue school at the age of five, where he would have studied scripture, astronomy, and arithmetic.

Saint Andrew Life With Jesus

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Saint Andrew the Apostle

The Apostle Andrew, whose name means “manly,” was Jesus Christ’s first apostle. He had previously been a disciple of John the Baptist, but when John declared Jesus to be “the lamb of God,” Andrew followed him and spent a day with him.

Andrew went straight to his brother Simon (later known as Saint Peter) and told him, “We have found the Messiah.” (NIV, John 1:41) He accompanied Simon to meet Jesus.

According to Matthew, Simon and Andrew dropped their fishing nets and followed Jesus as he passed by.

Three episodes involving the Apostle Andrew are recorded in the Gospels.

He and three other disciples questioned Jesus about his prediction that the Temple would be demolished (Mark 13:3-4).

Andrew brought a boy to Jesus with two fish and five barley loaves, which he multiplied to feed 5,000 people (John 6:8-13).

The apostle Philip and Andrew brought some Greeks who wanted to meet Jesus to him (John 12:20-22).

Although it is not mentioned in the Bible, church tradition holds that Andrew was crucified as a martyr on an X-shaped cross.

Saint Andrew Reflection

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Saint Andrew

The Gospels tell us very little about Andrew’s holiness, as they do about all of the apostles except Peter and John. He was a preacher.

That is sufficient.

Jesus personally summoned him to proclaim the Good News, to heal with Jesus’ power, and to share his life and death.

Today’s holiness is no different. It is a gift that includes a call to be concerned about the Kingdom, an outgoing attitude that desires nothing more than to share Christ’s riches with all people.

Many Catholics practice the St. Andrew Novena, also known as the St. Andrew Christmas Novena, in which a specific prayer is recited 15 times a day from his feast day on November 30 until Christmas.

Saint Andrew Liturgical Calendar

The liturgical year in the Roman Catholic calendar begins with Advent, and the First Sunday of Advent is always the Sunday closest to the Feast of Saint Andrew.

Though Advent can begin as late as December 3, Saint Andrew’s feast (November 30) is traditionally listed as the first saint’s day of the liturgical year, even when the First Sunday of Advent falls after it—an honour befitting of Saint Andrew’s position among the apostles.

This calendar arrangement gives rise to the tradition of praying the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena 15 times per day from the Feast of Saint Andrew until Christmas.

Saint Andrew Legacy/Achievements

Saint Andrew is still the patron saint of Scotland, Russia, Romania, Amalfi, and Luqa (Malta). Many national flags depict the cross on which he was crucified, serving as a memorial to him.

For example, the Scottish flag (and, later, the Union Jack and the flag of Nova Scotia) includes a saltire to commemorate the shape of Saint Andrew’s cross. The saltire is also the flag of Tenerife and Russia’s naval jack.

The feast of Andrew is celebrated on November 30 in both the Eastern and Western churches, and it is Scotland’s national day. The feast of St. Andrew is the first feast day in the Proper of Saints in the traditional liturgical books of the Catholic church.

Saint Andrew is revered in the Greek Orthodox tradition as the founder of the See of Constantinople and the source of apostolic succession in this church.

He is also a popular representation in icons and a popular name for boys in several countries with predominantly Christian populations.

Saint Andrew Travels

Andrew, like the other apostles, went forth to spread the gospel after Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension, but accounts differ as to the extent of his travels.

Saint Andrew, according to Origen and Eusebius, first travelled around the Black Sea as far as Ukraine and Russia (hence his patronage of Russia, Romania, and Ukraine), whereas other accounts focus on Andrew’s later evangelization in Byzantium and Asia Minor.

He is credited with establishing the see of Byzantium (later Constantinople) in the year 38, which is why he is the patron saint of the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, even though Andrew was not the first bishop there.

Saint Andrew Key Takeaway

Andrew was one of the twelve Apostles, and he is known as “Protocletus” (the First-Called) because he was the first Apostle to be summoned into Jesus’ service. Andrew and his brother Peter were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Both men became Apostles, and while Peter came to symbolize the Church of the West, Andrew came to symbolize the Church of the East.

Today the voice of St. Andrew continues to call on all Christians, especially the Greek Orthodox Christians throughout the world. His unstilled spirit beckons across the centuries proclaiming:

“The Saviour of the world has come! He is the Christ, the Son of God!”

This is the call of St. Andrew to all men for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” (Hebrews 13:8)

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Saint Andrew

Saint Andrews Death

Tradition places Saint Andrew’s martyrdom on November 30 of the year 60.

Saint Andrew was martyred on November 30, 60 (during Nero’s persecution) in the Greek city of Patrae, according to tradition.

A medieval tradition also holds that, like his brother Peter, he did not consider himself worthy of being crucified in the same manner as Christ, and so he was placed on an X-shaped cross, now known as a Saint Andrew’s Cross (especially in heraldry and flags).

The Roman governor had him bound rather than nailed to the cross to prolong the crucifixion and thus Andrew’s agony.

St. Andrew Gifts

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St. Andrew demonstrated his love for his brother as well as his apostolic zeal when he sought out St. Peter, convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first went to his own brother Simon and told him, ‘We have found the Messiah,’ and then brought him to Jesus.” (John 1:40-42)

Some of St. Andrew’s relics were brought to Scotland in the fourth century, but parts of his skeleton are kept in the crypt of Amalfi Cathedral in Italy, where they are removed twice a year and produce a clear, water-like substance. The substance, known as “manna,” is said to have miraculous properties.


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