Saint Andrew

Patron Saint of Scotland

Picture Of A Part Of A Stained Glass Window Showing Saint Andrew Saint Andrew, born at Bethsaida, was a disciple, one of twelve, of Jesus Christ. He worked as a fisherman in Galilee and brother to Peter (Simon Peter) another of Jesus' disciples.

An early legend says that St. Andrew of Scotland rescued six women who had lived as white swans for seven years by making them human again.

Early writers state that Andrew preached in Cappadocia, Galatia, and Bithynia, then in the land of the Anthropophagi and the Scythian deserts.

Later, in Byzantium itself, Andrew appointed St. Stachys as its first bishop, before going on to preach in Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Achaia.

It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia, and that he was tied, not nailed, to the cross to prolong his suffering.

The cross on which he died is commonly known to have been the decussate cross, now known as St. Andrew's, though the evidence for this view seems to be no older than the fourteenth century.

His martyrdom happened during the reign of Nero, on the 30th of November in A.D.60.

About A.D. 357, St. Andrew's relics were moved from Patrae to Constantinople, and placed in the Church of the Apostles.

When Constantinople was taken by the French, in the thirteenth century, Cardinal Peter of Capua brought the relics to Italy and put them in the Cathedral of Amalfi, where most of them still remain.

In the very early days of Christianity, relics of saints would include bones or fragments of clothing. These were considered to be very powerful symbols and, in the hands of believers, sometimes just to be in the prescence of them, miracles would happen.

Legend says that St. Regulus, or Rule, brought bones belonging to St. Andrew to Scotland, being shipwrecked at a place in Fife now known as St. Andrews, world renowned for the game of golf.

A cathedral begun by Bishop Arnold was built in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, in 1160 but took 158 years to finish. The cathedral was consecrated on the 5th of July in 1318 by Bishop Lamberton in the presence of King Robert the Bruce, who allegedly rode his horse up the central aisle.

Another story relates that two monks went to Rome and brought back the bones of St. Andrew giving the relics to the then King of Scotland, Angus McFergus who came to the throne in 731.

St. Andrew was officially recognised as Scotland's patron saint at the signing of the Declaration of Independence at Arbroath in 1320 signed by most of the Scottish noblemen of the time including Robert the Bruce.

The Declaration of Arbroath was sent to Pope John XXII in Avignon, France, a declaration of Scottish national freedom. Translated from the original Latin by Lord Cooper of Culross (1892-1955), you will find the following interesting portion :-

""Within this our realm there have reigned one hundred and thirteen Kings of our native royal dynasty, and not one of alien birth. If proof be needed of the quality and worth of our people, it shines forth for all to see in this that the King of Kings, our Lord Jesus Christ, after His Passion and Resurrection, chose us as almost the first to be called to His most holy faith, though we dwelt in the uttermost parts of the earth, and He would not that we should be confirmed therein by anyone except the first of His Apostles by calling, though the second or third in rank, Andrew the Meek, the brother of blessed Peter, whom He appointed to be our leader and patron Saint for ever."

This document reveals that St. Andrew may have been charged to carry the message of Christ to Scotland by Jesus Himself. Did the Son of God know about Scotland? An interesting, though not original, thought.

As mentioned elsewhere, many relics disappeared or were destroyed at the time of The Reformation when the Protestant Church broke from the Roman Catholic Church. The recognition that St. Andrew was equal to his brother, St. Peter.

One relic of St. Andrew that survives was given by Pope Paul VI to the first Scottish Cardinal since the Scottish Reformation, Gordon Gray, in 1969, and placed in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Patron saints are shared by other countries with Romania, Russia and Greece having adopted St. Andrew as theirs.

The 30th of November is recognised as St. Andrew's Day in Scotland.

It used to be a very popular feast day. Farm workers and labourers used to spend the day "St. Andra'ing" catching rabbits and hares with a feast and drinking afterwards.

Recently there has been a call to make St. Andrew's Day a public holiday in Scotland.

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