Simone Martini, Siena, Italy, 1326

St. Andrew was born around the same time as Jesus in Bethsaida, by the Sea of Galilee. He was one of the first Apostles of Jesus Christ and the first person to bring someone to Him. The Roman Catholic, Anglican (including Episcopal), and Lutheran Churches, among most Christian Churches, honors St. Andrew on November 30. He’s the patron saint of many places including the country of Scotland and the city of Patras in Greece where he was martyred some time around 70 A.D.

Because he was the first to bring someone to Jesus, his feast day is the first day of the Liturgical Calendar and kicks off the season of Advent which begins the first Sunday after and four Sundays before Christmas.

(Calendar Facts: When November 30 is on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, the first day of Advent, St. Andrew’s feast day is transferred to Monday. Although the Eastern tradition celebrate St. Andrew’s Feast day on November 30 along with the Western, the first day of the Eastern Liturgical Year is September 1. In Scotland, St. Andrew’s Day is a national bank holiday and always celebrated on the Monday after when the date hits on a weekend day.)

We know little about Andrew before he was introduced in the gospels except that he was a fisherman along with his brother Simon (Peter). Their father’s name was John, but we don’t know which brother was the elder. It’s seems likely Simon Peter would be the elder, but it’s not necessarily so that an elder sibling is more inclined to leadership than the younger.

It is, however, easy to surmise Andrew was drawn to the spiritual because he was a disciple of John the Baptist, Jesus’s cousin who preached about the One to come after him. When John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River near Bethany, he recognized and proclaimed him the Son of God. Then:

The next day John (the Baptist) again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”

The two disciples heard him say this and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?”

They said to him, “Rabbi, (which translated means Teacher) where are you staying?”

He said to them, “Come and see.”

They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed).

He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas (which is translated to Peter). — John 1:35-42

The other disciple is St. John, who later became one of the three closest apostles to Jesus, along and with his brother James, and Peter.

Cephas/Peter means rock. Peter was a strong follower of Jesus during his lifetime and later became the foundation of Christianity as the first leader of the Church in Rome.

The new disciples spent time with Jesus but continued their day jobs as fishermen until Jesus was ready to spread the Word:

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”

Immediately they left their nets and followed him. — Matthew 4:18-20

Duccio di Buoninsegna

Andrew next appears by name in the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes:

After this, Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”

Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place: so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.

When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is come into the world.” When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. — John 6:1-15

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Ayer, MA

Andrew had again brought someone to Jesus who ended up being quite significant — a child with a little food and a willingness to share.

Here is the last scene where Andrew is mentioned by name in the gospels:

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. — John 12:20-22

Andrew is the one who introduced the foreigners to Jesus — it was the beginning of spreading Jesus’s Word beyond the Jewish lands and cultures. Interestingly, the name “Andrew,” which had become common in the Jewish population of biblical times, is a Greek name that means “brave.”

Although not mentioned by name, Andrew was a part of the scene any time the twelve Apostles are mentioned such as at the Last Supper, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Pentecost. After Pentecost, all the apostles traveled to spread Christianity and the Word of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Although most other written sources about Andrew are not considered canonical, written and oral tradition holds he traveled far and wide spreading Christianity.

According to a Byzantine source, Nicetas of Paphlagonia, Andrew preached in the country of Georgia and is the founder of the Georgian Church. Traditions of other areas around the biblical world state Andrew preached to them during his lifetime, including Cyprus, Malta, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia.

Written and oral tradition agree Andrew was martyred by crucifixion upon the orders of the Roman Government in the city of Patras in Achaea, modern-day Greece. Some believe Andrew was tied instead of nailed to a T-shaped cross or a tree to prolong his death. Others state, and it has become widely believed, he was crucified on an X-shaped cross, now known as “St. Andrew’s Cross.”

Either way, it’s believed he suffered for two days during which he preached to those around him until he died.

He’s remembered as the founder of the Byzantium Church and the one who appointed St. Stachy’s their first bishop. His feast day is celebrated in Turkey as well as in the Greek Orthodox Church on the same day as in the western churches.

The story goes, three hundred years after St. Andrew was martyred, his relics were removed from his tomb on the order of Emperor Constantine the Great and reburied in Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul, in Turkey. (Centuries later, some of them were moved to shrines in Italy. Most of those relics have since been returned to the Church of St. Andrew in Patras, Greece.)

In the mid-late 6th century, a Greek or Irish monk named Regulus or Rule was told in a dream to take the relics of St. Andrew away from Constantinople and go far away. So, he removed some of the relics and carried them to Scotland.

There’s an equally probable story the relics were stolen and sold to the Bishop of Hexham who later gave them to the Pictish King, Oengus Mac Fergusa, in the mid-late 8th century.

Either way, the legend continues in 832 when King Oengus II prayed to St. Andrew on the eve of a battle in which his army was outnumbered. He vowed to make Andrew the Patron Saint of Scotland if they won the battle.

The next morning, white clouds formed into the shape of a cross in the blue sky, and they won the battle. This symbol has become the flag of Scotland whose patron saint is Andrew.

The rest, as they say, is history — American history to be exact.

Jumping along the timeline and across the Atlantic Ocean to the Revolutionary War years in America, we find many Anglican (Church of England) priests in the colonies, but no bishops who can ordain new priests. A representative of this group of priests, Samuel Seabury, sailed to Scotland to be ordained a bishop because none of them could go to England while at war. The Scottish Church which was also separated from the Church of England at this time, ordained him as bishop so he could return to found the Episcopal Church of the United States in 1789.

In 1923, William Baldwin, a lay member of the Cathedral Chapter of the Diocese of Long Island, presented a proposed Episcopal Flag at the General Convention. He was told to make it larger for viewing, so he and the Dean of the Kansas City Cathedral, the Very Rev. Hurbert Wood, stayed up all night sewing the larger flag out of red cotton, pale blue material, and a white crib sheet.


Baldwin described the symbolism of his design this way:

The red cross is the oldest symbol, dating back to the third century. The white represents purity and the red, the blood of the martyrs. The blue is ecclesiastical blue, light in color and used in the clothing of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, on this flag, represents the human nature of our Lord which he got from his virgin mother. The nine cross crosslets or Jerusalem crosses represent the nine dioceses that convened in Philadelphia in 1789, when the Constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church was adopted. . . The nine cross crosslets are set in the form of a St. Andrew’s cross in memory of the fact that, to avoid swearing allegiance to the British Crown, Bishop-elect Seabury of Connecticut (the first bishop of the Episcopal Church) had to go to Scotland to be consecrated by Scottish bishops. Episcopal Flag

(The red cross also represents St. George, the patron saint of England.)

The Episcopal Church adopted the design 17 years later in 1940.

Although not the fastest of decision makers, the Episcopal – half catholic, half protestant – Church is versatile, and that’s one of its best features.

Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give us, who are called by your Holy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

For More Info:

Catholic Encyclopedia

The message of St. Andrew, the one shown to us by his three similar acts of faith in the gospels, is bringing people to Jesus should be a gentle affair — starting off with a simple invitation and then standing by to jump in to help as needed.

St. Andrew was the one who was always there to help get the job done, and sometimes he led the way.

I know someone just like that — my nephew Andrew, one of the bravest souls I know. He’s a caretaker, a leader, and someone who after suffering, not one, but two great losses in his life, keeps going and doing. He inspires me.

He also happens to be a connoisseur of fine foods. I found this cool recipe for Barley, Beer, and Dark Chocolate Artisan Bread. I don’t actually have time in my life to read the whole recipe let along try to follow it, but it sure looks good.

Instead, I offer a simple bread that can be served either with dinner or as dessert:


¾ cup Grape-Nuts (barley/wheat nugget) Cereal

1 ¼ cups buttermilk

¾ light brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine cereal and buttermilk in a small bowl. Let soak for ½ hour.

In a large bowl combine sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add egg, vanilla, and buttermilk mixture. Mix thoroughly. Stir in melted butter. Stir in whole wheat and all-purpose flour. Stir in raisins.

Pour batter into a greased 9 x 5 – inch loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F about 45 minutes. Insert toothpick in the middle of the loaf. If it comes out clean, or with only a few crumbs, it’s done. No more than 60 minutes.

Let cool a bit before serving.


If you’re feeling saucy and want a plainer bread to accompany a savory meal, omit the cinnamon, vanilla, and raisins.

Or, if you’re feeling sweet and want a dessert bread, double the raisins (or replace with a cup of fresh or frozen fruit such as diced apples or berries). You can also replace the cup of whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour.

Slices of all versions of this bread can be toasted and/or served with butter, cream cheese, jelly, and/or peanut butter.

(Originally posted on November 30, 2013 to Saints and Recipes on Blogger.)

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