November 30 – The Apostle Andrew

These weekly “People to Commemorate” posts are a kind of calendar for the commemoration of the saints, reproduced here from a Uniting Church Assembly document which can be found in full here. They are intended for copying and pasting into congregational pew sheets on the Sunday closest to the nominated date.

Images (where provided) are of icons by Peter Blackwood; click on the image to download a high resolution copy of the image.

Andrew, apostle

The disciple Andrew was the first called of the twelve apostles. Andrew belonged to Bethsaida of Galilee. He was the brother of Simon Peter and his father’s name was John. He appears more often in the Gospel of John than in Matthew, Mark and Luke. His name is Greek, and he is given no Hebraic or Aramaic name.

Andrew’s call to be an apostle took place through three different stages. Andrew we are told had been a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. He then seems to have left Galilee to travel with others to Bethany, near the Jordan, when he heard of John the Baptist. He became a follower of John. It was at this point that he encountered Jesus and when John said that Jesus was the Lamb of God, Andrew decided to leave John and follow Jesus. He first went to tell his brother, Simon Peter, that he had found the Messiah.

It would seem that Andrew accompanied Jesus when he returned to Galilee, where Andrew and Peter resumed their old vocation as fishermen. Andrew at this time received his second call. This seems to have happened after John the Baptist was cast into prison. Andrew and his brother, along with James and John, also brothers, were now called on to forsake their occupation as “fishers of fish” and become “fishers of men”.

The final part of Andrew’s call was when he was called to be one of the twelve Apostles. Andrew along with Peter, James and John seemed to form a group closer to Jesus than the others.

Andrew in all the times we meet him is introducing people to Jesus. As already noted he introduces Peter to Jesus; at the feeding of the five thousand by the Sea of Galilee, the attention of Jesus was drawn to the lad with five barley loaves and two fishes by Andrew; he introduces the Greeks to Jesus after Philip speaks to him. Andrew’s role was to bring people to Jesus.

After the death of Jesus Andrew is said to have preached in many areas to the north of Palestine. Out of this work, tradition says that the Patriarchate of Constantinople grew.

Tradition tells us that Andrew was martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras in Achaea. Although early tradition stated that he was bound, not nailed, to a Latin cross of the kind on which Jesus is said to have been crucified; later tradition said that he had been crucified on a cross of the form called crux decussata. This is the shape of the saltire on the Scottish flag. It is now known as the Saint Andrew’s Cross.

The relics of Andrew were discovered in Constantinople in the time of Justinian, and part of his cross is now in St. Peter’s, Rome. It is said that his arm was transferred to Scotland by St. Regulus. Many of his body parts are said to be found scattered across Europe.

He became a patron saint of many places including Ukraine, Romania, Russia, Greece and Scotland. His patron day is November 30th.

Peter Welsh