Who was Andrew the Apostle?
The feast of St Andrew the Apostle is November 30. Here’s what we know about him. Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, both were fishermen on the sea of Galilee. Known as “First-called” in the orthodox tradition, he was the first apostle called by Jesus to follow him. John’s Gospel records that he and another (commonly thought to be John himself) hear the preaching of John the Baptist and Andrew then finds his brother Simon and tells him they have found the Messiah.
Andrew the Apostle appears 3 times in John’s Gospel. At the feeding of the 5000, Andrew is the one who says to Jesus: “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus replies: “Have the people sit down”.
The Gospel also records an incident where the Greeks come to speak to Jesus, but approach Phillip and Andrew first to ask them first. The names Andrew and Phillip are in fact Greek. The Apostles then ask Jesus who has a curious reply: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified”.
Whenever we encounter Andrew his role seems to be one of bringing others to Jesus, and he is often remembered as an great and fearless evangelist.
Several centuries after his death, his relics were brought to Fife in Scotland – the place became known as St Andrew’s which we know today. St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland.
When Byzantium and Rome were split and competed for legitimacy, Byzantium claimed to be founded by St Andrew who was said to have been its first bishop. Russia was evangelised by missionaries from Byzantium and so St Andrew became the patron saint of Russia also.
Andrew the Apostle is said to have been martyred in Patros in Greece.