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Παρασκευή, 30 Νοεμβρίου 2018

Feast of St. Andrew

Feast of St. Andrew

At the very beginning of His ministry, Christ passed by two brother-fishermen casting their nets into the Sea of Galilee. He spoke very simple words to them: Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). They did just this, straightaway casting aside their entire former lives. These were Simon-Peter and Andrew, brothers from the village of Bethsaida.

The Evangelist John tells us that Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist and had heard how the latter called Jesus "the Lamb of God" [cf. John 1:36]. Andrew believed in this at once, for which reason we today call him the "first-called" – he was the first of the Apostles to be called. It was he who pointed out to Christ the boy with the five loaves and two fishes, which were later miraculously multiplied to feed the multitude [cf. John 6:8-9]. He, along with Phillip, brought several Greeks to Christ [cf. John 12:20-22], but Scripture tells little about Andrew. We know him primarily through his acts and life.

When the Apostles were sent forth to preach, they divided by lot the countries in which they would proclaim the Good News. Andrew received the coast of Pontus Euxine, that is, of the Black Sea. The southern coast (including the Crimean south coast) was part of the "civilized world" of the time, that is, of the Roman Empire, while barbarians called Scythians lived on the northern Black Sea coast. We do not know exactly how far north the Apostle Andrew went in his journeying, but there is a tradition passed down that he traveled to Kiev and looked down upon the Dnieper River – and that he even reached as far north as Novgorod. This is why the Apostle Andrew is so well revered in Russia.

Eventually Andrew traveled back to Rome – the city in which he and his brother Peter would both be martyred in. When Andrew was arrested and condemned, he begged not to be crucified in the same fashion as his Master – for he felt unworthy. Therefore, Andrew was crucified upon an "X-shaped" Cross which is now called the "Cross of St. Andrew."

Fr. John

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