Church of England Diocese of Guildford Dunsfold


30 Nov 2020, midnight

Andrew was an apostle of Jesus and the brother of Saint Peter. He was born between AD5 and AD10 in Bethsaida in Galilee, on the sea of Galilee where he and his brother were fishermen by trade. Hence, Jesus summoned them to become his disciples by telling them: "I will make you fishers of men."

St John's gospel tells us that Andrew was also a disciple of John the Baptist, who led him to follow Jesus. Andrew immediately recognised the Messiah and hastened to introduce him to his brother. In fact, the Byzantine church calls Andrew "the first called". From then on the two brothers were disciples of Christ.

Historians of the early church insist Andrew travelled widely preaching the gospel of Christ with claims he reached as far west as the Black Sea and Kiev. From there he travelled to Novgorod in Russia.

Andrew is believed to have been martyred by crucifixion in Patras in southern Greece in AD60. Relics of St Andrew are kept at the Basilica of St Andrew in Patras, the Amalfi Cathedral and Sarzana Cathedral in Italy, the Church of St Andrew and St Albert in Warsaw as well as St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh.

St Andrew is, of course, the patron saint of Scotland and the St Andrew's cross (saltire) forms the flag of Scotland and a part of the Union Jack. But other nations make claims to St Andrew for his divine inspiration. Georgia acclaim him as the first preacher of Chritianity to visit their land.

In Cyprus they claim that St Andrew visited their island when his ship was blown off course. They say that on reaching shore Andrew struck the rocks with his staff and that a spring of healing water gushed forth.

Today he is officially seen as the patron saint of Barbados, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Scotland. So the Scots don't have an exclusivity on their patron saint.