Tuesday, November 20, 2007


St. Andrew by Camillo Rusconi. Nave of the Basilica of St. John Lateran (Rome).Saint Andrew (Greek: Ανδρέας Andreas, "manly"), called in the Orthodox tradition Protocletos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle, brother of Simon Peter.


According to Christian tradition, Andrew was born at Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee (John 1:44). Since he was a Jew, Andreas was almost certainly not his given name, but no Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him (see also: Aramaic of Jesus). He had been a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:37-40) and was one of the first to follow Jesus. He lived at Capernaum (Mark 1:29). In the gospels he is referred to as being present on some important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus (Mark 13:3; John 6:8, 12:22); in Acts there is only a bare mention of him (Acts 1:13).

The Kievan hill where St Andrew is said to have erected the cross is commemorated by the cathedral dedicated in his name. Eusebius quotes Origen as saying Andrew preached in Asia Minor and in Scythia, along the Black Sea as far as the Volga. Hence he became a patron saint of Romania and Russia. Traditionally, he became the first bishop of Byzantium in 38, a position which would later become Patriarch of Constantinople.

He is said to have suffered crucifixion at Patras (Patrae) in Achaea, on a cross of the form called Crux decussata (X-shaped cross) and commonly known as "St. Andrew's cross." or saltire. St Andrew is the patron of Patras. According to tradition his relics were removed from Patras to Constantinople, and thence to St Andrews (see below). Local legends say that the relics were sold to the Romans by the local priests in exchange of the Romans constructing a water reservoir for the city. In recent years, the relics were kept in the Vatican City, but were sent back to Patras by decision of the Pope Paul VI in 1964. The relics, which consist of the small finger and part of the top of the cranium of St Andrew, are since kept in the Church of St Andrew at Patras in a special tomb, and are reverenced in a special ceremony every November 30.


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