Saint Andrew

Over the next few months, we will look at each of Jude’s fellow Apostles...this reflection is in two parts: Saint Andrew in the New Testament and then we look at Saint Andrew after the Pentecost. 

Saint Andrew
by Br. Richard Green, O.Carm

We have an occasional series of reflections looking at Saint Jude’s fellow Apostles. This week, I’d like to reflect on Saint Andrew, whose feast day is celebrated on 30 November. 

When we think about Jesus’ twelve apostles, they fall into two categories. There are the ones that I think of as the “big three”, Peter, James and John. These are the three who Jesus sometimes takes with him, on occasions when the whole group of twelve might be a bit too many, let alone the wider group of all those who were following Jesus and listening to him. These times include such important events as the Transfiguration, and Jesus’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. 

When we read the gospels, we learn quite a bit about these three apostles, and get some idea of their personalities. 

Then there are other members of the Twelve, who are a bit more mysterious, and who we don’t learn much about – St Jude is one of these. But St Andrew is a bit different. We do learn a bit about him, but we mostly find it out it incidentally, because he is Peter’s brother. The story of how Andrew became a follower of Jesus is one of these occasions, because the writers of the Gospels are clearly focussing on Peter’s role. I’ve recently reread the account of this in John’s Gospel, which I’ll quote here:

The next day John [the Baptist] was standing there again with two of his disciples, when he saw Jesus walking by. “There is the Lamb of God!” he said.
The two disciples heard him say this and went with Jesus. Jesus turned, saw them following him, and asked, “What are you looking for?”
They answered, “Where do you live, Rabbi?” (This word means “Teacher.”)
“Come and see,” he answered. (It was then about four o'clock in the afternoon.) So they went with him and saw where he lived, and spent the rest of that day with him.
One of them was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. At once he found his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah.” (This word means “Christ.”) Then he took Simon to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “Your name is Simon son of John, but you will be called Cephas.” (This is the same as Peter and means “a rock.”) - John 1. 35-42, GNB

Two of the disciples of John the Baptist follow Jesus, and spend some time with him. We don’t know what they did during that time, but at the end of it, whatever Jesus has done or said during that day has convinced Andrew that he is the Messiah. He then goes and fetches his brother Simon, who also becomes a follower of Jesus, and is renamed as Peter. 

We don’t get told anything about Andrew’s life up to this point, but it looks as though Andrew was the sort of person who was waiting or searching for the the Messiah. He didn’t know exactly what the Messiah would be like, but talking to Jesus on that afternoon was enough to convince him that this was what he was looking for. 

This attitude of waiting makes it quite appropriate that St Andrew’s feast day always falls around the beginning of Advent. In the earlier stages of Advent, the church’s liturgy focusses on how we are always waiting for Jesus’s return. Just like Saint Andrew, we are waiting for the Messiah to come. Of course there are differences: we are waiting for Jesus to come again, and so we have a much better idea of what it is that we are awaiting. 

What struck me about his passage recently was the way in which we can imagine Andrew’s attitude of waiting. Going about his ordinary business of fishing, living a normal life with Peter and his other relations, but knowing that the Messiah would come, and consciously searching. 

What happened after Pentecost?
by Matt Betts

After Pentecost, it said that Andrew preached along the Black Sea and the Driefer river as far as Kiev. He then went on to Novgorod. Due to this journey, Andrew is Patron Saint for Ukraine, Romania and Russia. Let us pray at this point for the peoples of the region. We pray that peaceful means can be found soon, rather than this horrible war – Saint Andrew, pray for us all. 

In Georgia, the Church there regards Andrew as the first preacher of Christianity and the founder of the church. The Georgian Orthodox church has two feast days: 12 May and 13 December – the 12 May is for his arrival in the region. 

Andrew then travelled down to Thrace (north of Greece) and eventually founded the See of Byzantium (Constantinople) - now Istanbul. On the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, tradition holds that a ship transporting Andrew went off course and ran aground here. The Apostolos Andreas Monastery is dedicated to Andrew’s arrival in Cyprus and situated just south of Cape Apostolos Andreas. 

Andrew was eventually martyred by Crucifixion at the city of Patras around AD 60 (Greece). Early texts describe Andrew as bound and not nailed to the X shaped cross or saltire, which is now known as the Saint Andrew’s Cross. He is said to have requested this because he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus Christ. In Patras, is the Orthodox Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew. It holds relics of Andrew the Apostle, which were returned to the city of Patras from Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome in September, 1964, on the orders of Pope Paul VI. 

About the middle of the 10th century, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. Several legends state that the relics of Andrew were brought by divine guidance from Constantinople to the place where the modern town of St Andrews stands today.

Saint Andrew, pray for us; Saint Jude, pray for us. 

Why not find out more about Saint Andrew and the other Apostles? We would recommend you read some of these excellent books or articles:




Image credit:BibleArtLibrary (Istock photo .com)