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andrew 2Saint Andrew was Simon Peter’s brother and, like Peter, he was a fisherman. He was also a follower of John the Baptist, that is, until John pointed to Jesus saying “Behold! The Lamb of God". Andrew immediately left John and followed Jesus, knowing Him to be greater than John. After only a short time Andrew was certain that he followed the Messiah. Andrew became Jesus' first disciple. Andrew then led his brother Peter to Jesus and he too became a disciple. Andrew was one of the Twelve Apostles and a member of the inner circle of Jesus' followers.

For a brief time after taking up with Jesus, the brothers continued their fishing trade. A short time later Jesus came to them and promised to make them fishers of men if they would follow Him full time. They did, He did, and the rest is history. Two countries name Andrew as their patron saint; Russia, and, of course, Scotland. He is the patron saint of fishermen.

The fact that he was one of, if not the first, disciple is one of the few things we know about Andrew; other information just is not available about him. After the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, the apostles spread out to build the church. St. Andrew would have taken an important part in the spread of the Gospel, but unfortunately there is no evidence of his activities in the formation of the church. There are accounts from historians of the age that state that Andrew preached in varied locations such as: Cappadocia, Galatia, and Bithynia then also in the Scythian Deserts and Byzantium and finally in Thrace Macedonia, Thessaly and Achaia.

andrew2 2The consensus is that St. Andrew was ordered crucified by the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia. It is believed that he was tied to his cross instead of nailed in order to prolong his suffering. It is also believed that he was crucified on a Decussate cross, which is now known as St. Andrew's cross. The information regarding the manner of Andrew's martyrdom dates from the fourteenth century, leaving no possible verification. The death and martyrdom of Andrew was on the 30th of November in the year A.D. 60 during the reign of Roman Emperor Nero. November 30 is kept by the Latin, Catholic, and Greek Churches as St. Andrew's feast day.

So, why is this fisherman, this follower of Christ the patron saint of Scotland? Several reasons present themselves as to why this is so. The first legend says that in around 325 the Roman Emperor Constantine decided to take Andrew’s remains from Patras in Greece to Constantinople. The story goes that Saint Rule (or Regulus) of either Greece or Ireland, depending on which version you choose, was told by an angel to remove many of the relics and take them north to the far reaches of the Earth. St. Rule was told to stop when he reached the coast at Fife. He then founded the settlement of... Wait for it... Saint Andrew.

Another story adds that during the seventh century Saint Wilfrid of York brought some of Andrew’s relics home when he returned from a pilgrimage to Rome. Angus MacFergus, King of Scots, in turn installed them at the new diocese at St. Andrews in order to enhance the prestige of the new diocese.

Then there is the tale of the Pictish King Angus who was faced with an invasion. He prayed for guidance and was rewarded when a cloud floated by that was in the shape of a saltire cross. His army soundly defeated the enemy army, and Angus decreed that Saint Andrew would hence forth be the patron saint of Scotland. After defeating the English at Bannockburn in 1314 Robert Bruce would confirm Andrew as the patron saint of Scotland with the Declaration of Arbroath. In 1385 the Saltire became Scotland's national Flag.

There are, of course, other versions of how some of St. Andrew's bones came to Scotland, but the point is that they were brought to Scotland at some time long ago. There they remain, supposedly, doing whatever it is that they do for Scotland and the Scots.

andrew flag 2Saint Andrew is not only the patron saint of Scotland. Fish folks especially like him; anglers, fish dealers, mongers, and fishermen Single women, too, claim Andrew as their saint; maidens, old maids, single lay women, unmarried women, and spinsters. Countries other than Scotland claim Andrew as their saint as well, including Greece and Russia along with many towns in Italy, Germany, France, and Spain. In 1687 King James VII established the Order of Saint Andrew, also known as the Most Ancient Order of the Thistle, a Knighthood that is restricted to the King or Queen and sixteen others.

There is no record of the final resting place of the relics. They were stored in St. Andrew's Cathedral which fell into ruin centuries ago. It is thought that they were destroyed during the Scottish Reformation of the sixteenth century when the Protestants won out over the Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholics were considered to be idolaters. All relics, images and decorations were supposed to be removed from the churches and destroyed during the conversion from the Catholic to the starkness of John Knox's version of Calvinism.

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