Saturday, December 1, 2012
About St. Andrew the Apostle
Like his brother Simon Peter, Andrew was a fisherman in Bethsaida in Galilee, in what is now present-day Israel. He was with John the Baptist when John pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” It was then that he began to follow Jesus, and when Jesus asked Andrew what he was seeking, Andrew replied by asking him where he lived. Jesus said, “Come and see.” Andrew then brought Simon Peter to Jesus, exclaiming, “We have found the Messiah!” The brothers left their nets to follow Jesus, who promised to make them “fishers of men.”
Tradition speaks of Andrew carrying the Gospel message to Greece and Asia Minor following our Lord’s ascension into heaven. He is said to have been put to death by the Roman authorities on an x-shaped cross, to which he was tied, rather than nailed. He is supposed to have been buried in Patras in southern Greece. An x-shaped cross, or saltire (reflected in the cross logo at left), is the symbol for St. Andrew, as are fish and fishing nets. Our parish’s logo cross incorporates this “X” shape.
The countries of Russia and Scotland have chosen St. Andrew as their patron.
The Feast of St. Andrew, our parish’s patron saint, is observed in the Church worldwide on Nov. 30.
A Prayer for the Feast of St. Andrew (November 30)
Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give us, who are called by your Holy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The St. Andrew’s Cross & other symbols
Christianity is rich in tradition and symbolism. The most recognized and cherished symbol, of course, is the cross, the instrument of our salvation. There are believed to be more than 400 different representations of the cross, many of which are featured prominently in church architecture and stained glass. But there are many other symbols as well. Some are easily recognizable; the meaning of others somewhat obscure. Yet they all bear witness to God, who so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The St. Andrew’s Anglican Church cross and logo features the St. Andrew’s cross superimposed over a Latin cross with pointed ends, which symbolizes the Passion of Christ. Behind the cross is a design element that suggests a circle, representing eternity. The circle is actually composed of four pieces, representing the four Gospels, as well as the four corners of the Earth to which the Gospel has been spread. From time to time you may see just the design element, or medallion, or just the St. Andrew’s cross over the Latin cross, depending on the application. The dark red color symbolizes the blood of the martyrs, as well as the Holy Spirit, and gold represents the kingship of Christ.
One of the earliest Christian symbols is the fish. To the apostles, most of whom were fishermen by trade, Jesus said, “Come, follow me … and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17). Furthermore, the initial letters for the Greek word for fish, “Ichthus”, form an acronym for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” This symbol was used by early believers when Christians were under persecution as a secret sign of their shared faith. One person would draw an arc on the ground, and another would complete the sign to show their identify as a follower of Christ. The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand also featured fish, as Christ multiplied the two fish and five loaves of bread. (Matthew 14:17).
Another Christian symbol, the anchor, frequently in the form of a cross, symbolizes the Christian’s hope in Christ. Both the fish and the anchor, as well as a net, are symbols closely associated with fishing, and thus identified with our patron, Andrew, who was the first of the fishermen called by Jesus, and was the disciple who brought the boy with the fishes and loaves to him.
The most common symbol for Andrew, however, is the cross in the form of a “X”, known as a Saltire cross, because according to tradition he was crucified on a cross of that shape, having claimed he was not worthy to be crucified in the same manner as our Lord.
The national flag of Scotland features a white Saltire on a blue field, and the official cross of the Eastern Orthodox Church, placed on the top of their spires, is formed by two horizontal arms and a third, slanting arm symbolic of the St. Andrew’s cross representing the tradition that the apostle was the first missionary to take the Gospel message to the Russian people.