From the Desk of Father Michael

Saint Andrew, the Holy and All-Praised First-Called Apostle

Commemorated November 30

 Andrew, first-called of the Apostles and brother of the foremost disciple, entreat the Master of all to grant peace to the world and to our souls great mercy. Apolytikion Chanted In Tone 4

Let us praise Andrew, the herald of God, the namesake of courage, the first-called of the Savior’s disciples and the brother of Peter. As he once called to his brother, he now cries out to us: “Come, for we have found the One whom the world desires!” Kontakion Chanted In Tone 2

Beloved In Christ,

The Holy Apostle Andrew was the first of the Apostles to be called by Christ and he later brought his brother the Holy Apostle Peter to Christ. Andrew was from Bethsaida and from a youth followed the will of God. Andrew was not married and made his living as a fisherman like his father and brother. Saint Andrew became the closest disciple of Saint John the Baptist when the Baptist began his ministry of preaching the coming of the Messiah. Later the Baptist sent to Christ two of his disciples, the imminent Apostles Andrew and John the Theologian.

After Pentecost, Saint Andrew went to the Eastern parts of the Roman Empire to preach the Word of God. He traveled through Asia Minor, Thrace, Macedonia, and to the Danube River. He also traveled along the coast of the Black Sea, through Crimea and along the Dnieper River and to the area where the great city of Kiev stands today.

Having prayed, he went up even further along the Dnieper and reached a settlement of the Slavic people, where Novgorod was built. From there Andrew went through the land of the Varangians towards Rome and then again returned to Thrace, to the small village named Byzantium, which was the future great City of Constantinople.

The First Called Apostle, Saint Andrew, founded the Holy Sea of Constantinople, where our present Patriarch Bartholomew the First is the 170th successor of Saint Andrew. By Saint Andrew establishing the Church of Constantinople he links the Church of Constantinople to her daughter Church the Church of Russia.

On his journeys Saint Andrew endured much sufferings from the pagans. In Sinope they assaulted him with stones but he remained unharmed, he continued to preach to the people the love of the Savior; through the prayers of the Apostle the Lord worked many miracles. Through his labor, Christian Churches were established for which he provided many bishops and clergy. The final city, which the Apostle came to, was the city of Patras in Greece where he suffered his martyrdom.

Through Saint Andrew the Lord worked many miracles in Patras. The sick were healed and the blind received their sight. Through the prayers of Saint Andrew the illustrious citizen of Patras Sosios recovered from serious illness; he healed Maximilla, wife of the governor of Patras and his brother Stratokles. The miracles performed in Christ’s name by Saint Andrew and with the illustrious sermons preached by him enlightened virtually all the citizens of Patras in the true Faith.

Among the very few pagans that remained was the prefect of the City Legatos. Saint Andrew repeatedly approached him with the Word of Christ, but not even the miracles of the Apostle changed Aegeatos. Saint Andrew with love and humility appealed to his soul striving to teach him the Christian teaching of life eternal and the wonderworking power of the Lord’s Cross. The infuriated Aegeatos gave orders to crucify the Holy Apostle. All the pagan priests thought they would undo Saint Andrew’s preaching if he were to be put him to death on the cross.

Saint Andrew hearing the decision of the prefect went prayerfully the place of his execution. In order to prolong the suffering, Aegeatos gave orders not to nail the Saint’s hands and feet, but to tie them to the cross, which was shaped in an  “X”. For two days the Holy Apostle taught the citizens from the cross. The people listening to him took pity and tried to take Saint Andrew down from the cross; Aegeatos, fearing a riot gave orders to stop the execution. The Holy Apostle prayed fervently that the Lord would grant him death on the cross; just as the soldiers tried to release the Saint he gave up his soul to God. His final prayer to God was, “Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit.” Suddenly a divine light illumined the cross and the Holy Martyred Apostle. When the divine light faded the Apostle Andrew had given up his holy soul to the Lord. Maximilla, the wife of the prefect had the body of the Saint taken down from the cross; she buried Saint Andrew with honor.

A few centuries later the Emperor Constantine the Great, respectfully moved the Holy Relics of Saint Andrew to Constantinople where they were placed in the Church of the Holy Apostles along with the relics of the Holy Evangelist Luke and Saint Paul’s disciple Saint Timothy.

In His Service,

Father Michael