Saint Andrew

General Information

St. Andrew was a fisherman whom Jesus called to be an Apostle (Matt. 4:19). He was also the brother of Simon Peter. According to a popular but mistaken tradition, Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross. The crossed bars of the Scottish flag are derived from this belief. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and Russia. Feast day: Nov. 30.

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Saint Andrew

Advanced Information

Andrew, manliness, a Greek name; one of the apostles of our Lord. He was of Bethsaida in Galilee (John 1:44), and was the brother of Simon Peter (Matt. 4: 18; 10:2). On one occasion John the Baptist, whose disciple he then was, pointing to Jesus, said, "Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:40); and Andrew, hearing him, immediately became a follower of Jesus, the first of his disciples. After he had been led to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, his first care was to bring also his brother Simon to Jesus.

The two brothers seem to have after this pursued for a while their usual calling as fishermen, and did not become the stated attendants of the Lord till after John's imprisonment (Matt. 4:18, 19; Mark 1:16, 17). Very little is related of Andrew. He was one of the confidential disciples (John 6:8; 12:22), and with Peter, James, and John inquired of our Lord privately regarding his future coming (Mark 13:3). He was present at the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:9), and he introduced the Greeks who desired to see Jesus (John 12:22); but of his subsequent history little is known. It is noteworthy that Andrew thrice brings others to Christ, (1) Peter; (2) the lad with the loaves; and (3) certain Greeks. These incidents may be regarded as a key to his character.

St. Andrew

Catholic Information

The name "Andrew" (Gr., andreia, manhood, or valour), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the second or third century B.C.

St. Andrew, the Apostle, son of Jonah, or John (Matthew 16:17; John 1:42), was born in Bethsaida of Galilee (John 1:44). He was brother of Simon Peter (Matthew 10:2; John 1:40). Both were fishermen (Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:16), and at the beginning of Our Lord's public life occupied the same house at Capharnaum (Mark 1:21, 29).

From the fourth Gospel we learn that Andrew was a disciple of the Baptist, whose testimony first led him and John the Evangelist to follow Jesus (John 1:35-40). Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messias, and hastened to introduce Him to his brother, Peter, (John 1:41). Thenceforth the two brothers were disciples of Christ. On a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and then they left all things to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11; Matthew 4:19-20; Mark 1:17-18).

Finally Andrew was chosen to be one of the Twelve; and in the various lists of Apostles given in the New Testament (Matthew 10:2-4); Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13) he is always numbered among the first four. The only other explicit reference to him in the Synoptists occurs in Mark 13:3, where we are told he joined with Peter, James and John in putting the question that led to Our Lord's great eschatological discourse. In addition to this scanty information, we learn from the fourth Gospel that on the occasion of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, it was Andrew who said: "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fishes: but what are these among so many?" (John 6:8-9); and when, a few days before Our Lord's death, certain Greeks asked Philip that they might see Jesus, Philip referred the matter to Andrew as to one of greater authority, and then both told Christ (John 12:20-22). Like the majority of the Twelve, Andrew is not named in the Acts except in the list of the Apostles, where the order of the first four is Peter, John, James, Andrew; nor have the Epistles or the Apocalypse any mention of him.

From what we know of the Apostles generally, we can, of course, supplement somewhat these few details. As one of the Twelve, Andrew was admitted to the closest familiarity with Our Lord during His public life; he was present at the Last Supper; beheld the risen Lord; witnessed the Ascension; shared in the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats and persecution, to establish the Faith in Palestine.

When the Apostles went forth to preach to the Nations, Andrew seems to have taken an important part, but unfortunately we have no certainty as to the extent or place of his labours. Eusebius (H.E. III:1), relying, apparently, upon Origen, assigns Scythia as his mission field: Andras de [eilechen] ten Skythian; while St. Gregory of Nazianzus (Or. 33) mentions Epirus; St. Jerome (Ep. ad Marcell.) Achaia; and Theodoret (on Ps. cxvi) Hellas. Probably these various accounts are correct, for Nicephorus (H.E. II:39), relying upon early writers, states that Andrew preached in Cappadocia, Galatia, and Bithynia, then in the land of the anthropophagi and the Scythian deserts, afterwards in Byzantium itself, where he appointed St. Stachys as its first bishop, and finally in Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Achaia. It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia, and that he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been the decussate cross, now known as St. Andrew's, though the evidence for this view seems to be no older than the fourteenth century. His martyrdom took place during the reign of Nero, on 30 November, A.D. 60); and both the Latin and Greek Churches keep 30 November as his feast. St. Andrew's relics were translated from Patrae to Constantinople, and deposited in the church of the Apostles there, about A.D. 357. When Constantinople was taken by the French, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, Cardinal Peter of Capua brought the relics to Italy and placed them in the cathedral of Amalfi, where most of them still remain. St. Andrew is honoured as their chief patron by Russia and Scotland.

Publication information Written by J. MacRory. Transcribed by Christine J. Murray. Dedicated to Andrew E. Murray The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

St. Andrew the Apostle, the First-Called

Orthodox Information

Commemorated November 30

As the first to be called by Jesus Christ into his service, St Andrew commands a reverence a degree greater than those who have followed. For this reason, St Andrew is called Protokletos, or "First-called".

St Andrew, like his brother St Peter, was a fisherman, a toiler with net and boat recognised in the Psalms of the Old Testament as one of those "who go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep". His love of the sea stemmed from his love of the Creator who made it, and the perils of the sea which he challenged daily forged the character with which he boldly assailed the seas of ignorance and paganism in the sacred trust that had been placed in his keeping.

St Andrew, who lived in the Holy Land in the ancient city of Bethsaida, accepted Christ with all his heart and after a discipleship with St John the Baptist went forth to become one of the greatest missionaries in all history. When the apostles drew lots to determine their sphere of labour for the Saviour, St Andrew exulted in his mission to preach in Asia Minor, part of Greece, and an area along the coast of the Black Sea, including its gateway, the city now known as Istanbul, or Constantinople.

Wherever St Andrew went he attracted throngs of people who thirsted for a spiritual knowledge. His message of deliverance was so eloquently convincing, even to hostile minds, that he is credited with having converted countless thousands to Christianity in a day when mass media did not exist. As an apostle, his only tools were his power of oratory and his love for Jesus, and his only press agent was the word of mouth of those privileged to hear his homilies.

St Andrew came to Jerusalem for the First Synod of the Apostles, about 50 AD, another historic first for him and the other apostles, some of whom he had not yet met. There he rejoiced in joining the great St Peter together with those but for whom Christianity might never have become the glorious human experience it is today. Out of the Synod, the apostles went forth with renewed vigour to establish the ecclesiastical system.

St Andrew alone is credited with having set up parishes throughout Asia Minor, in Pontos, Bithynia, Thrace, Macedonia, Greece, Scythia (Russia, where he is still regarded as patron saint) and in the capital city of Byzantium. It was in Byzantium that St Andrew ordained Stachys as first bishop of Byzantium (later Constantinople), thereby establishing an unbroken line of 270 patriarchs down to the present day Patriarch Bartholomeos I. From Byzantium, St Andrew went on to more glory through his compelling oratory and power of healing through Jesus Christ. He eventually found himself in Achaia, in the city of Patras, where he was to suffer death.

St Andrew committed the grave crime in the eyes of the state of converting Maximilla, wife of the ruler Aigeates, to Christianity. Despite the fact that he was then eighty years old, it was ordered that he be put to death by being nailed upside down to an X-shaped cross. After three days of agony on this vile device, St Andrew died. The great fisherman had cast his net for Christ for the last time. St Andrew's remains were brought to Constantinople two hundred years later and in 1460 AD his head was given to the Pope. On 24 September 1964, in an ecumenical gesture, the head was returned to the people of Patras by the Pope of Rome.

Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

As first of the Apostles to be called, O Andrew, brother of the foremost disciple, beseech the Master of all to grant the world peace and our souls great mercy.

Kontakion (Second Tone)

Let us praise the namesake of bravery, the divinely eloquent and first to be called of the Disciples of Christ, the kinsman of Peter. As he called out to him in days of old, so now he calls to us, "Come, we have found Him for whom we yearned".

Apostle Andrew the First-Called

Orthodox Information

(This information may not be of the scholastic quality of the other articles in BELIEVE. Since few Orthodox scholarly articles have been translated into English, we have had to rely on Orthodox Wiki as a source. Since the Wikipedia collections do not indicate the author's name for articles, and essentially anyone is free to edit or alter any of their articles (again, without any indication of what was changed or who changed it), we have concerns. However, in order to include an Orthodox perspective in some of our subject presentations, we have found it necessary to do this. At least until actual scholarly Orthodox texts are translated from the Greek originals!)

The holy, glorious and all-laudable Apostle Andrew the First-Called was the first of the apostles of Jesus Christ and the brother of the Apostle Peter. He is also the patron saint of several countries, including Romania and Scotland. His feast day is November 30.


Andrew was a fisherman by trade, born in Bethsaida. A disciple of John the Forerunner, he left St. John to follow Jesus Christ following his baptism and brought along his brother, the Apostle Peter. Both are numbered among the Twelve Great Apostles. After Pentecost, the lot fell to St. Andrew to preach in:

Byzantium: he appointed St. Stachys as its first bishop

Thrace, Peloponnese, Greece, and Epirus: he converted many to the Faith and ordained bishops and priests for them

Georgia: he entered Georgia from Ajara, preached Christianity in Atsquri, built small church there and left miracle-working icon of Theotokos.

Russian lands: in Kiev he planted a cross on one of the high hills of Kiev, and he prophesied a city that would have many golden-domed churches, and a bright Christian future for the Russian people.

St. Andrew was martyred in Peloponnese, in the city of Patras. The Proconsul Aegeates' family believed in the miracles and preaching of St. Andrew, and the enraged Proconsul tortured and crucified St. Andrew. The new converts wanted to remove him from his cross, but the saint would not allow them. Instead, he comforted them from the cross and as he prayed an extraordinary light encompassed him for about a half hour. When it left, he gave up his soul. It was the year 62 AD.

St. Andrew's relics were taken to Constantinople, his head to Rome and a hand to Moscow.


Troparion (Tone 4)

Andrew, first-called of the Apostles
and brother of the foremost disciple,
entreat the Master of all
to grant peace to the world
and to our souls great mercy.

Kontakion (Tone 2)

Let us praise Andrew, the herald of God,
the namesake of courage,
the first-called of the Savior's disciples
and the brother of Peter.
As he once called to his brother, he now cries out to us:
"Come, for we have found the One whom the world desires!"


St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid

Apostle Andrew, the Holy and All-Praised First-Called (OCA)
Andrew the First- Called Apostle (GOARCH)
Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called Icon and Story
Andrew the Apostle, the founder of the Church of Constantinople - Church of Constantinople website

St. Andrew

Coptic Orthodox Information

Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. He and Peter were the sons of Jonas or John (John 1:42; 21:15).

Andrew was the first of the disciples called by Jesus. As was the case with Philip, he also was from Bethsaida (John 1:44) and had been a disciple of John the Baptist. When he heard John declare for a second time that Jesus was the Lamb of God, Andrew left his former teacher and followed after Jesus. He then brought his brother to Jesus (John 1:35-42). Andrew and his brother had a home in Capernaum (Mark 1:21,29) and this town became the headquarters for much of Jesus' public ministry.

The apparent discrepancy between John's account and that found in Matthew 4:18ff and Mark 1:16ff, where the two brothers appear to have been called together, is no real problem. John records the first introduction of the brothers to Jesus. The other evangelists record Jesus' formal call to follow him in his ministry, coming in the second year of Jesus' public ministry.

Characteristics of This Disciple

Andrew was never a disciple who pushed himself into the forefront. In temperament and personality he was almost the direct opposite of his brother Peter. But in his own unassuming way, he was active in bringing people to Jesus. The biblical record concerning Andrew revolves around three incidents. In each one he brought someone to Jesus.

1) He started close to home by bringing his brother Peter to Jesus (John 1:35-42)

2) At the feeding of the 5,000, he brought the boy with five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus. He knew that Jesus would do the rest (John 6:8-9).

3) Andrew introduced a group of Greek "foreigners" to Jesus. They had first gone to Philip, but Philip wasn't sure what he should do. Andrew welcomed them and was willing to bring these "outsiders" to see the Lord (John 122:20-22).

Andrew was a humble and helpful worker in God's Kingdom. He was always ready to serve without selfishness and without seeking his own glory. "Let me have a church of Andrews of simple loving men [and women], content to bring others to Jesus."

Outside of Scripture, the early church reported that Andrew preached the gospel in Asia Minor, in Greece and beyond. He is reported to have raised 39 dead sailors who washed ashore from a shipwreck and often he is portrayed as a kind of magician whose simplest words made mighty big things happen. A fourth century account reports that he was crucified at Patras in Greece about the year 60 AD. When the wife of the governor was converted by Andrew's preaching, so the story goes, the governor in anger ordered him crucified. He was crucified on an X-shaped cross which had two ends planted in the ground. Tied to that cross, he preached for three days before he died. Accordingly this cross is known as the "St. Andrew's Cross." This cross is used as Andrew's symbol.

James F. Korthals

The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in December 1997.

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