St Andrew

St Andrew was born at Beth-sa'ida, Galilee and was the brother of Simon Peter (who later became known as St Peter). Initially, they made their living as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee until they met Jesus and became part of his disciples. Andrew is often referred to as the First Called because he was the first Apostle to be summoned by Jesus.

After the death of Jesus, Andrew went on to become a missionary, spreading the Christian religion. It is believed he began his missionary activity on the southern shores of the Black Sea, later travelling to Byzantium (Constantinople) where he founded a Christian church. Sometime between 60 and 70 AD Andrew went to the City of Patras in southern Greece where he preached the word of Jesus and performed many miracles of healing. One of those that he healed was Maximilla, the wife of the Roman Proconsul Aegeates. She immediately converted to Christianity as did Stratoklis (the brother of Aegeates) who was later consecrated by Andrew as the first Bishop of Patras.

This enraged and infuriated Aegeates who, supported by his advisers, decided to crucify Andrew. This was done on a cross saltire - an ‘x’ shaped cross - which became the symbol of St Andrew.

After his death, Andrew was removed from the cross and buried with full honours in Patras and, as his fame spread, his grave became a shrine for all Christians. According to legend Aegeates was so overcome with remorse at having killed Andrew that he committed suicide.

In 357 the relics of St Andrew were taken from Patras to the Church of the Apostles in Constantinople on the orders of the Roman Emperor Constantius II. They remained there until 1208, when they were removed to the Church of Sant’ Andrea in Amalfi, Italy by Cardinal Peter of Capua. In 1460 the head of St Andrew was taken to St Peters, Rome where it was kept until 1967 when it was returned to Patras by Pope Paul VI.

However, according to legend, in 732 a monk arrived in Scotland carrying with him what was said to be the bones of St Andrew. He came ashore at what is now known as St Andrews and the relics were housed in the chapel. By 1160 a cathedral had been built and had become a place of pilgrimage. It is because of this that St Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland.

Saint Andrew's Day is celebrated on 30th November each year

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