St Andrew the Apostle ~ The Rev. Mthr Lady Sherwood, OPI


The New Testament tells us that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter. He was born in the village of Bethsaida on the sea of Galilee. Both Andrew and his brother were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he would make them “fishers of men”.

In the Gospel of Matthew (Matt 4:18=22) and in the Gospel of Mark (Mark 1:16=20), Simon Peter and Andrew were both called together to become disciples of Jesus and “fishers of men”. These narratives record for us that Jesus was walking along the shore of the sea of Galilee, saw Simon Peter and Andrew fishing, and called them to discipleship.

However, in parallel in this incident in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 5:1=11) Andrew is actually not named, and nor is there any mention of Simon Peter having a brother. In this, Jesus used a boat described as belonging to Simon, as a preaching platform for preaching to the multitudes on the shore, and then after as a way of achieving a huge catch of fish on a night which had hitherto proved to be fruitless. There is an indication that Simon was not the only fisherman present (they signalled to their partners in the other boat (Luke 5:7) but it is not until the next chapter that Andrew is named as Simon’s brother (Luke 6:14). Although it is generally understood that both Andrew and Simon were fishing on that night.

In contrast however, the Gospel of John (John 1:35=42) states that Andrew was original a disciple of John the Baptist before being led to follow Jesus.

Andrew is referred to in the Gospels as being present on some important occasions as one of the closest of Jesus’s disciples. Andrew told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes (John 6:8), and when Philip wanted to tell Jesus about certain Greeks that were seeking him, he informed Andrew first (John 12:20=22). Andrew was also present at the last supper.

Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras in Achaea, on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. Early texts such as the Acts of Andrew known to Gregory of Tours, tell us Andrew was tied not nailed to a cross of the type on which Jesus is said to have been crucified, yet a tradition emerged that Andrew was crucified on a Crux decussata (an x=shaped cross), now commonly known as a St. Andrew’s cross. They say this was at his own request, as he deemed himself to be unworthy to be crucified on the same type as on which Jesus died.

Andrew is the patron saint of several countries and cities including : Barbados, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Ukraine, Amalfi in Italy, Esgueira in Portugal, Luga in Malta, Paranaque in the Philippines, and Patras in Greece. He was also the patron saint of Prussia and of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

The feast of Andrew is observed on the 30th November in Eastern and Western churches, and it is also the national day of Scotland.

In the traditional liturgical books of the Catholic Church, the feast of St. Andrew is the first feast day in the Proper of Saints.