Saint Andrew
Feast Day: November 30

St. Andrew (Greek andreia - "manhood" or "valor") was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ and the brother of the apostle Simon Peter. In Byzantine tradition, he is called protokletos ("the first called") because he is named first among the apostles in John 1:40. Andrew and Peter were both fishermen in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee when called by Jesus to become "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).

Varying sources place Andrew preaching in various parts of Asia Minor around the Black Sea following Jesus' resurrection. He was crucified in Greece by the Roman Governor Aegeas in 60 AD. He was bound instead of nailed to the cross to prolong his agony and the cross was 'X' shaped, a symbol which is traditionally associated with him.

His remains were taken to Constantinople by Constantius II in 357. When the French took Constantinople in 1208, Cardinal Peter of Capua brought them to Arnalfi, Italy. In the 15th century, Pope Pius II displayed Andrew's skull to a crowd from the steps of St. Peter's in a ghoulish attempt to drum up support for a crusade against the Turks. The head was returned to from whence it originally came, Patrai, Greece, by Pope Paul VI in a gesture of goodwill towards the Greeks in 1964.

Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and Russia.

(an' droo) GREEK: ANDREAS

According the the Gospel of John, Andrew (along with an unnamed other) was the first person to become a disciple of Jesus. In later Christian tradition he was often called Protokletos, Greek for "first called."

Little is known of Andrew's youth other than that he apparently grew up in Bethsaida, an important town of the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, just east of the Jordan. He was probably born sometime in the first decade B.C. In 4 B.C. Bethsaida had come under the rule of Herod Philip, son of Herod the Great; Herod Philip had expanded the town and given it the added name of Julias, for Julia, the sister of the emperor Augustus. The expanded city evidently had a considerable Greek population and Greek names such as Andrew were not uncommon. The town's older name, Bethsaida, meant "house of the fisherman," an obvious fit for Andrew and his brother Simon Peter, who both grew up to make their living fishing the Sea of Galilee.

At some point the brothers apparently moved three miles west across the Jordan to Capernaum, which was under the rule of Herod Antipas. They formed a fishing partnership with a man named Zebedee and his two sons, James and John. Andrew lived in a house with his brother, who was married and whose wife's mother also lived with them. Archaeologists believe they have discovered the ruins of that or a similar house - an extensive structure with room for a clan of several families.

How Andrew came to be a disciple is told in two different ways, in the Gospel of John on the one hand and in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark on the other. John describes Andrew as first a disciple of John the Baptist. Before he ever heard of Jesus, Andrew, like many Jews of his day, was filled with expectation of the coming of the Messiah. When reports of John's preaching reached Capernaum, Andrew went with the multitudes to hear him. But unlike most, Andrew stayed with this new prophet and became devoted to his powerful teachings along with a circle of other disciples.

Everything about the Baptist excited the religious expectations of the times, but John himself revealed to those around him that he was not the Messiah. One afternoon Andrew and another disciple were standing with John when Jesus walked by and John said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" (John 1:35) - a metaphorical reference to the Passover lambs. Andrew and his unnamed companion were intrigued by John's statement and followed Jesus. When Jesus noticed them, he invited them to come to his house, and they spent the rest of the day conversing. The encounter so impressed Andrew that he concluded that his religious quest had been fulfilled. Almost immediately he went to his brother Simon with the news, "We have found the Messiah" (John 1:41), and brought him to meet Jesus.

The Gospels of Matthew and Mark provide another account of Andrews's call, emphasizing the authority of Jesus' summons. Both Gospels introduce Andrew and Peter as they are fishing with casting nets along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus approaches and says simple, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). Without a word they forsake their nets and obey.

Through most of the Gospel narratives, Andrew simply shares the experiences of the other disciples and does not stand out as an individual. A few episodes, however, highlight his presence. It was in his house, shared with Peter and his wife, that Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law. When more than 5,000 people were hungry in the wilderness, it was Andrew who found a boy who had five barley loaves and two fish that Jesus used to feed the throng. When certain Greeks who were in Jerusalem wished to see Jesus, they came first to Philip and then to Andrew, the two disciples with Greek names, who then informed Jesus of the request.

After Jesus's death and during the early years of Christianity in Jerusalem, Andrew labored with the other apostles, but little is known of his ministry. Many legends about Andrew grew in the second century, and a long, didactic tale called the Acts of Andrew was composed. It told how the apostle preached in Greece, rescued Matthias from cannibals, and traveled through Asia Minor and northern Greece working fabulous miracles and preaching celibacy. Finally, it told how Andrew was crucified by a Roman proconsul whose wife refused conjugal relations after Andrew had converted her.

Still later tradition attributed to Andrew the founding of the church in Byzantium (later Constantinople) and in Russia. The supposed bones of the apostle were kept in Constantinople (though an arm was taken to St. Andrews, Scotland) until Crusaders brought them to Italy in 1204. The X-shaped cross was linked to the tradition of Andrew's crucifixion sometime after the seventh century.

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}

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