Saint Andrew was the first disciple of Jesus. He was the younger brother of Saint Peter and was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. The brothers were fishermen by trade. Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he would make them “fishers of men.”
The Gospel of John teaches us much about St. Andrew who was originally a disciple of St. John the Baptist. When John pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Andrew understood that Jesus was greater and immediately left John to follow Jesus. He visited in Jesus’ home and later brought his brother Simon Peter, who Jesus also called to be an apostle.
It is believed that Saint Andrew and Saint Peter continued their trade as fishermen until Christ called them to a closer relationship, and they left all things to follow Jesus. After Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, St. Andrew the Apostle preached the gospel in Asia Minor and in Scythia as far as Kiev. Not much is mentioned in the Book of Acts regarding the life of Saint Andrew.
Saint Andrew was martyred by crucifixion at Patras in Achaea in Greece. Because St. Andrew deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross on which Christ had been crucified, he asked to be tied to a Crux decussata or an X shaped cross. The Apostle Andrew did not die right away but instead he was left to suffer for two days while he continued to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ until he finally died. Although little is mentioned in the Book of Acts regarding the life of St. Andrew, much can be learned through St. Andrew’s life. He and Saint Peter gave up their lifelong careers and lifestyles, leaving everything behind, to follow Jesus. Their undying faith in a difficult world is an inspiration to all Christians.His relics consist of a small finger, the top of his cranium and pieces of the cross. These are kept in a shrine at the Church of St. Andrew in Patras.
Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, Russia and Greece. Scots celebrate Saint Andrew’s Day around the world on the 30th of November. The flag of Scotland is the Cross of St. Andrew.
O Glorious Saint Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend Saint John you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity. As you led your brother Saint Peter to Christ and many others after him, draw us also to him. Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for him and dedication in his service. Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus. Amen.
St. Andrew, pray for us!