Feast Day: 30 November
Andrew was Simon Peter’s brother. They lived in Copernicum and were both fishermen.
Andrew, along with Peter, James and John formed the inner circle of Jesus’ 12 apostles. Andrew was however a disciple of St John the Baptist prior to becoming a follower of Christ.
Not a great deal is known about his early life other than he is mentioned in the Bible as taking part in the ‘Feeding of the Five Thousand’. It is not certain where he preached the Gospel, or where he is buried, but Patras in Achia claims to be the place where he was martyred and crucified on a cross.
Whilst it is not certain where Andrew actually preached – Scythia, Thrace and Asia Minor have all been mentioned – it appears he traveled great distances in order to spread the word, and it may be this which links him with Scotland. Two versions of events claim this link.
One legend builds upon Andrew’s extensive travels, claiming that he actually went to Scotland and built a church in Fife. This town is now called St Andrews, and the church became a centre for evangelism, and pilgrims came from all over Britain to pray there.
Another ancient legend recalls how it was after the death of Andrew, sometime in the 4th century, that several of his relics where brought to Fife by Rule, a native of Patras.
Though we cannot say with certainty with legend is closer to the truth, it is these links that explain why Andrew is now the patron saint of Scotland.
Churches were dedicated to him from early times throughout Italy and France as well as in Anglo Saxon England, where Hexham and Rochester were the earliest of 637 medieval dedications.
St Andrew has also been remembered down through the ages for the way he met his terrible death in A.D. 60. A 4th-century account reports his death by crucifixion, and late medieval accretions describe the cross as X-shaped. He is iconographically represented with an X-shaped cross (like that depicted on the Scottish flag).