Friday, November 30, 2012

St. Andrew's Day

Photo by Murdo Macleod from The Guardian

Who was St. Andrew?

Andrew was, well, I'll let a greater writer than I am tell you that. In Mark 1:16-18, Jesus, "passing by the Sea of Galilee, saw Simon and Andrew, Simon's brother, casting a set into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" He was one of the less prominent Disciples, being omitted from the writings of Matthew and Luke completely. John writes about Andrew more extensively, putting him in a position of authority to intercede between people and Jesus. He continued to preach the gospel throughout the region until his death.

The Martyrologium Romanum gives us some insight into his final days, "30 November is at Patrae of Achaia the feast dat of St. Andrew the Apostle, who preached the Gospel of Christ in Thrace and Schythia. He was arrested by Aegeas the Proconsul, at first locked in prison, then most gravely cut, and finally suspended from a cross. On it, he lived for two days, teaching th epeople; and having asked the Lord that he not be taken down from the cross, he was surrponded with a great spendor from Heaven, while a light shortly shown, and he gave up the ghost."

St. Andrew's Cross

State Flag of Alabama

Tradition accounts that the cross upon which Andrew was crucified was an X-shape, thus creating the shape of the Saltire, or St. Andrew's Cross, which is now the national emblem of Scotland and the state flag of Alabama.

St. Andrew is known as the patron for fishermen, singers, those who suffer from gout and sore throats, unmarried women, and women wishing to become mothers.

Historically, St. Rule is credited with bringing relics of St. Andrew to what is now Scotland, after receiving a vision. St. Andrew was first recognized as the patron saint of Scotland in 1320 at the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, asserting the country's independence from England.

Not Just Scotland

St. Andrew is revered in many other European countries, including Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Russia, and Romania. 

In Poland, St. Andrew's Day, or Andrzejki, is celebrated on the night of November 29th and the day of November 30th. It is considered the last night to celebrate before fasting begins during the Advent season, somewhat similar to Mardi Gras before Lent. As the patron saint of maiden women, many Andrzejki games and traditions involve single women seeking clues about their future husbands. 

So, Happy St. Andrew's Day, or, for the Scottish, 'Here's tae us - Wha's like us'! 

Peterson, P. M. (1958). Andrew, brother of Simon Peter: His history and his legends. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

Edition in Propylaem ad Acta Sanctorum Decembris, Brussles, 1940. cf. Epistle of the Presbyters and Deacons in Bonnet, Acta, pp. 32-44 and Passio in Bonnet, Sup., pp. 69-70.

"Official Symbols and Emblems of Alabama: State Flag of Alabama". Alabama Department of Archives & History. Retrieved 30 November 2012.

"Who was St Andrew?". Retrieved 30 November 2012.

McSweeny, Declan. "Liverpool gives St Andrew's Day a Polish twist". Retrieved 30 November 2012.

No comments: