St. Andrew the Apostle
Following the Lamb of God
There is no existing account on the early life of St. Andrew, one of the Twelve Apostles. He was the brother of Simon, who was called “Peter” by the Lord later on. The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) tell that he and Peter were called by Jesus on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus called them from their fishing and told them that they would become “fishers of men”. The Gospels recount that from that time, they left their nets and boats and followed Jesus.
The Gospel of John presented a rather different version of Andrew’s encounter with Jesus. In this Gospel, Andrew was the first Apostle named. Like many faithful Jews of his time, he was waiting for the Messiah sent by God. Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist before he was called by Jesus. One day, he heard John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus as “the Lamb of God” (John 1: 36). After hearing these words, Andrew was stirred, and with another unnamed disciple, followed Jesus. The Evangelist says that “they saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day…” (John 1: 37-39).
Andrew in the Gospels
The Gospels mention the name of Andrew on three occasions. The first was that of the multiplication of loaves in Galilee. When they saw a very large crowd of people following them, it was Andrew who pointed out to Jesus about the young boy who had five barley loaves and two fish, with the remark that they were not much for the multitudes who had gathered in that place (see John 6:8-9).
The second occasion was at Jerusalem when a disciple drew Jesus’ attention to the sight of the massive structure of the Temple. Jesus’ response was rather surprising and unpredicted: “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be one stone left upon another that will not be thrown down.” Then Andrew, together with Peter, James and John, asked him: “ Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be when all these things are about to come to an end?” (see Mark 13: 1-4).
Lastly, in Jerusalem shortly before Jesus’ passion, some Greeks had come to the city for the Passover. These Greeks, probably proselytes or simply God-fearing men who had come to worship the God of Israel, approached Philip with the request “Sir, we would like to see Jesus” (see John 12:20-23). Andrew and Philip served as interpreters and mediators of this small group.
Andrew’s Missionary Journey
After Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension, the Acts of the Apostles recounts that Andrew and his other companions went to Jerusalem and waited for the promised Holy Spirit. The rest of Andrew’s life could be found in apocryphal and non-canonical texts. Christian writers of the first centuries wrote that Andrew went to evangelize Asia Minor, the regions along the Black Sea until he reached the Volga.
Andrew tirelessly preached the Good News throughout Achaea and in Patras around the year 60. He was martyred there and was crucified on an X-shaped cross. According to legend, Andrew’s last words were: “Cross, sanctified by the body of Christ. Good Cross, long desired always, I loved you and wished to embrace you. Welcome me and bring me to my Master”. His feast day is November 30.
Five Interesting Facts About St. Andrew the Apostle
- St. Andrew’s name was of Greek origin. His name means “manly”.
- Dependent on John 1:40, early Byzantine tradition calls St. Andrew as “protokletos” which means “first called.”
- According to legend, it was St. Andrew himself who requested that he be crucified on an X-shaped cross as a way to evoke the Greek initial used for the name of Christ.
- St. Gregory of Tours recorded in his book an annual miracle at St. Andrews tomb from the sixth century. He recounted that the Apostle worked a great miracle: manna with the appearance of flour and oil with the fragrance of nectar overflowed from his tomb. In this way, the fertility of the coming year was revealed.
- A legend tells that St. Andrew healed Maximilla, wife of the governor of Patras. Andrew’s preaching and miracles enlightened nearly all citizens of Patras with the true faith.
Prayer to St. Andrew the Apostle
We humbly implore your majesty, O Lord,that, just as the blessed Apostle Andrewwas for your Church a preacher and pastor,so he may be for us a constant intercessor before you.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever. Amen.