Theology of the Heart- Life of the Saints- St. Andrew


Apostle, brother of Simon Peter.

Patron on Scotland and Russia

Feast: November 30

Andrew was born in Bethsaida, a small town of Galilee situated on the shores of the Lake of Ganeseret.  He was the son of a fisherman named Jonas and the brother of Simon Peter.  Sacred Scripture does not tell us if he was the older or younger of the brothers.  The family had a house in Capernaum and Jesus stayed there while he was preaching in this city. 

Disciple of John the Baptist 
When Saint John the Baptist began to preach repentance, Saint Andrew became his disciple.  He was with his teacher when John the Baptist, after having baptized Jesus, saw him pass by and exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”  Andrew received enlightenment from heaven to understand these mysterious  words.  Immediately, he and another disciple of John the Baptist followed Jesus, whom Jesus perceived with the eyes of the Spirit before he saw them with his physical eyes.  Turning toward them, he asked them, “What are you looking for?”  They responded that they wanted to know where he was staying and Jesus asked that they accompany him to the place he was staying. 

Apostle of Jesus
Andrew and his companions spent two hours remaining in the day with Jesus.  Andrew clearly understood that Jesus was the Messiah and, from that instant, he resolved to follow him.   As a result, he was the first disciple of Jesus.  For this reason the Greeks call him the “proclete” (the first called).  Andrew later brought his brother to meet Jesus, who took him right away to be his disciple, giving him the name Peter.  From that tie on, Andrew and Peter were discip.les of Jesus. 

In the beginning they did not follow him constantly, as they would do later, but they would always go to listen to him whenever they were able and then return to work together at their family business.  When the Savior returned to Galilee, he found Peter and Andrew fishing on the lake and definitively called them to the apostolic ministry, announcing to them that they would be fishers of men.  They immediately abandoned their nets in order to follow him and could no longer be separated from him. 

The following year, our Lord chose the twelve Apostles; the name of  Andrew in among the first four chosen in the lists of the Gospels.  His name is also mentioned in the  event of the multiplication of the loaves (John 6: 8-9) and of the Gentiles who wanted to see Jesus (John 12:20-22).  

After Pentecost   
Apart from a few words from Eusebius, who says that Saint Andrew preached in Scythia and that certain apocryphal “acts” bearing the name of the apostle were being used by the heresies, all that we know of the Saint comes from apocryphal writings.  Nevertheless, there is a curious mention of Saint Andrew in the document known as “the Fragment of Muratori”, which dates to the beginning of the third century.  “The fourth Gospel (was written) by John, one of the disciples.  When the other apostles and bishops urged him (to write) he told them, “Fast with me for three days beginning today, and after we speak to one another of the revelations we have had, whether they be for or against it.  This very night it was revealed to Andrew, one of the Apostles, that John ought to write and that they all should revise what he had written.” 

Theodoret tells us that Andrew was in Greece; Saint Gregory Nazianzen specifies that he was in Epirus, y Saint Jerome adds that he was also in Achaia. Saint Filastrio says that from Pontus he went to Greece, and that in his age (fourth century) the inhabitant of Sinop (modern day Turkey) affirmed that they possesed an authentic portrait of the saint and that they had preserved the ambo from which he had preached in the said city.  Although all the authors agree in the affirmation that Saint Andrew preached in Greece, the truth of this statement is not absolutely certain. 
In the middle ages the general belief that Saint Andrew had been in Byzantium, where he left his disciple Staquis as bishop (Rom 14:9).  The origin of this tradition is a false document, in an era in which it was benifical for Constantinople to attribute to itself an apostolic origin in order to not be less than Rome, Alexandria and Antioch (The first Bishop of Byzantium that is known to history was Saint Metrophanes, in the fourth century). 

The manner of the death of Saint Andrew and the site on which he died are also uncertain.  The apocryphal “passion” narrative says that he was crucified in Patras in Achaia.  Since he was not nailed to the cross, but only tied to it, he was able to preach to the people for the two days before he died.  It seems that the tradition that he died on a cross in the form of an “x” was not spread until the fourth century. 

In the times fo the emperor Constantine II (361), the presumed relics of Saint Andrew were moved from Patras to the Church of the Apostles in Constantinople.  The crusaders took Constantinople in 1204, and a little later the relics were robbed and moved to the Cathedral of Amalfi, in Italy. 

Saint Andrew is the patron of Russia and Scotland  
According to a tradition that has no support, the saint went on mission as far as Kiev. Nobody affirms that he had also been in Scotland and te legend in the Breviary of Aberdeen and in the writings of John of Fordun do not merit any credit.  According to the said legend, a certain Saint Regulus, who was the ordinary of Patras and entrusted with moving the relics of the apostle in the fourth century, received a dream in which an angel advised him that he ought to transport a part of the relics to a site which he would disclose later.  Following these directions, Regulus went toward the northeast, “toward the ends of the earth”.  The angel commanded him to stay in the place that was later called St. Anrews.  Regulus built a Church there for the relics and was elected the first bishop of that place and evangelized thepeople there for thirty years.  This legend probably dates to the eighth century.  May 9th is celebrated in the Diocese of Saint Andrews as the feast of the moving of the relics

The name Saint Andrew is present in the canon of the Mass, along with the other Apostles.  It also appears, along with the names of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saints Peter and Paul, in the intercalación that follows the Our Father.  This mention can be attributed to the devotion that Pope Saint Gregory the Great professed for this saint, although it perhaps was placed there at a later date. 

Source: Butler's Lives  of the Saints, Vol. IV.

Return to main page of the Saints...

This page is the work of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary