the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of
Antioch, 1st c. A.D
The Feast of St. Andrew
Saint Andrew is
the brother of Saint Peter, our first Pope. Both of the
brothers were born in Bethsaida, and became fishermen, eventually
making their way to Capernaeum, a fishing village on the northern shore
of the Sea of Galilee.
And Andrew, the
brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who had heard of John, and
followed Him. He findeth first his brother Simon, and saith to him: We
have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
Hence Andrew's title as "The First-Called." Christ Himself asked them
to follow Him as well, telling them He'd make of them "fishers of
And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren,
Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into
the sea (for they were fishers). And He saith to them: Come ye after
me, and I will make you to be fishers of men. And they immediately
leaving their nets, followed Him.
Aside from his being listed as a disciple, his presence during Christ's
discourse on eschatological things (Mark 13), his presence at the
miracle of the loaves and fishes (John 6), and his and Philip's telling
Jesus about some Gentiles who wanted to see Him, everything we know
about St. Andrew comes from extra-scriptural sources -- from
tradition. Various Fathers reveal that, after the death and
resurrection of Christ, St. Andrew preached in Scythia, Epirus, Hellas,
Cappadocia, Galatia, Bithynia, Byzantium, Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly,
and Achaia. It was in Achaia that he was crucified, being hanged on an
X-shaped cross on November 30, in the year A.D. 60, while Nero reigned.
His relics were translated to the cathedral in Amalfi, Italy, a
beautiful seaside town in Campania, near Naples.
Some of his relics, though, were taken to Scotland in
the mid-first millennium, and many churches there are named in his
honor. The very conversion of Scotland to Christianity is attributed to
St. Andrew, so he's become the patron of that country (and of Russia).
His X-shaped cross -- called a "saltire" -- adorns their flag --
-- and Scotland's St. Andrew's Cross was later incorprated into the
Union Jack -- along with the Cross of St.
Patrick used by the Irish
(the red saltire), and the Cross of St.
George used by the English
(the red T-shaped Cross):
St. Andrew's Day
is often used as a marker for the date of Advent: the Sunday
closest to November 30 -- whether before, after, or on November 30 --
is Advent Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent. Because Advent is a
penitential season, St. Andrew's Day often has the celebratory
character of a mini "Fat Tuesday."
A prayer for the day:
O Christ, our
Lord, Who didst beautify the most blessed Andrew with the grace of
apostleship, and the crown of martyrdom by granting to him this special
gift, that by preaching the mystery of the cross, he should merit death
on the cross; grant us to become most true lovers of Thy holy cross,
and denying ourselves, to take up our cross and follow Thee; that by
sharing Thy sufferings in this life, we may deserve the happiness of
obtaining life everlasting. Amen.
In Scotland, of which St. Andrew is patron, this feast is a national
holiday. Traditional foods for the day might include Scotch Broth,
Tatties, and some dolled-up shortbread:
1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder or shanks (can use beef with bones
2 tablespoons butter or lard
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/3 cup dried green split peas
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups chicken broth
1 large carrot, diced
1 turnip, peeled and diced
1 rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
1/2 cup shredded green cabbage
1 medium leek, chopped, rinsed and drained
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Cook the onions and garlic in the lard or butter until
softened, 4-6 minutes. Add the lamb, herbs, barley, split peas,
salt and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover
and simmer for 2 hours. Skim off any foam, and add the carrot, turnip,
rutabaga and parsnip. Simmer for 60 minutes more. Remove
the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, then remove the meat, shred it and
give the bones to your dogs. Return the meat to the pot along
with the leek and cabbage. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
Add salt to taste. Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley.
Neeps and Tatties
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 pounds yellow turnips, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Place potatoes a large pot; cover with water and bring to a boil. Do
the same with the turnips. Cook both until tender, about 30 minutes
depending on how small you've cut the vegetables up (the neeps -- the
turnips -- will likely take a tad longer than the tatties). Drain. Mix
them together, add butter and mustard powder, and mash until well
incorporated. Stir scallions, salt, and pepper into the mash.
For the shortbread
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
12 Tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter, cold and diced up
7 Tablespoons sugar
For the middle
11 Tablespoons (2/3 cup) butter
10 oz can condensed milk
7 Tablespoons maple syrup
For the chocolate
12 oz chocolate (dark or milk, up to you)
Preheat oven to 3500F. Mix flour and cold bits of butter
until you form a mixture with the texture of breadcrumbs. Add sugar and
mix until incorporated. Pour the mixture into a 9×9-inch baking pan
lined with parchment paper, and press down to create a firm crust
. Bake at 3500F for 30 minutes or until golden. Set aside
and let the shortbread cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, mix middle layer ingredients together in a saucepan over
heat. Keep stirring until you form a smooth mixture. Increase the heat
and bring mixture to a boil, stirring until the mixture is thick and
golden brown. Let it cool some, then pour over the first layer and let
Heat the chocolate -- either in microwave using 20-second bursts and
stirring in between, or in a double boiler -- until the chocolate is
about 75% melted. Stir to make smooth, and pour over the cooled middle
layer. Chill for an hour, then cut into squares and serve.
And if you're not a Scot, you can pretend you are, the same way
"everyone's Irish" on St. Patrick's Day.
Enjoy some Scotch Whisky, have a game of "who has the worst Scottish
accent?", and listen to some traditional Scottish music, like the
haunting "Loch Lomond" -- a Jacobite song about two lovers parted by
death when one dies for his King:
By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.
O ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland a'fore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.
'Twas there that we parted, in yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side o' Ben Lomond,
Where in soft purple hue, the highland hills we view,
And the moon coming out in the gloaming.
The wee birdies sing and the wildflowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping.
But the broken heart it kens nae second spring again,
Though the waeful may cease frae their grieving.
In the land of kilts (and in England as well), St. Andrew's X-shaped
cross is used as a symbol
to fight against evil. One can find it inscribed on fireplaces and over
doorways and the like, all in order to keep demons and witches far away.
In Poland, where St. Andrew's Day is known as Adrzejki, there's a
tradition involving St. Andrew's Eve,
the night of November 29. Girls will melt wax and pour it through the
hole of a key (the antique sort, with the large holes in their
handles), into a bowl of cold water. The room is darkened, a single
light is lit, and then the cooled, hardened wax is pulled out and held
up against the light so it casts a shadow on the wall. The resulting
shadow's shape is said to indicate something about whom they'll marry.
Another Polish tradition is for unmarried girls to line up their shoes,
with the first placing her shoe with its heel up against a room's back
wall. The next girl places the heel of her shoe to the toe of the first
girl's shoe, toward the direction of the door. The third girl does the
same, and the first girl whose shoe crosses the threshold is said to be
first who'll marry (if there are too few girls to make it across the
room, take shoes from the back of the line and move them to the front,
toward the door).
A third Polish tradition has each unmarried girl peeling an apple,
making a peel that's as long as possible. She then throws the peel over
her shoulder and tries to determine what letter the shape of the peel
most looks like. This letter will be the first letter of her true
In various countries (e.g., Germany, Wales, Czechoslovakia, et al.),
are told to listen for a dog barking; the direction whence the bark
comes is the direction she'll find her future husband.
It goes without saying that traditions like these should be done in the
spirit of fun, not seriously, with any thoughts of divination.
In Amalfi, Italy, a city for whom St. Andrew is patron, a great
procession is had of a Neapolitan Baroque bust of St. Andrew. It is
carried from the cathedral to the sea, where fishermen are blessed and
floral wreaths thrown into the water. At some point during the day, his
reliquary is opened, and sometimes his remains give off a healing oil of saints. With regard to St. Andrew's
relics, this phenomenon began on the eve of his feast in 1304 when an
old man went to Father Pierantonio Suraldi, informed him that he would
find the oil of saints on Andrew's relics, and -- disappeared (Fr.
Suraldi used the oil to restore sight to a blind man from Tramonti).
The evening's festivities are marked by fireworks. St. Andrew is also
honored in Amalfi on June 27 in remembrance of when, in 1544, the
Saint protected Amalfi by bringing about a terrible storm in the city's
port when the Ottoman pirate Barbarossa tried to attack.
From Dom Prosper Gueranger's "The Liturgical Year"
We open our Proper of Saints for Advent with Saint Andrew, because,
although his feast frequently occurs before this holy season has begun,
it sometimes happens that we have entered Advent when the memory of
this great Apostle has to be celebrated by the Church. This Feast is
therefore destined to terminate, with solemnity, the Cycle which is at
its close, or to add lustre to the new one which has just begun. It
seems, indeed, fitting that the Christian Year should begin and end
with the Cross, which has merited for us each of those years which it
has pleased the divine goodness to grant us, and which is to appear, on
the last day, in the clouds of heaven, as the seal put on Time.
We should remember that Saint Andrew is the Apostle of the Cross. To
Peter, Jesus has given firmness of Faith; to John, warmth of Love; the
mission of Andrew is to represent the Cross of his divine Master. Now
it is by these three, Faith, Love, and the Cross, that the Church
renders herself worthy of her Spouse. Everything she has or is, bears
this threefold character. Hence it is that after the two Apostles just
named, there is none who holds such a prominent place in the universal
Liturgy as Saint Andrew.
But let us read the life of this glorious fisherman of the lake of
Genesareth, who was afterwards to be the successor of Christ himself,
and the companion of Peter, on the tree of the Cross. The Church has
compiled it from the ancient Acts of the Martyrdom of the holy Apostle,
drawn up by the Priests of the Church of Patrae, which was founded by
the Saint. The Churches, too, both East and West, which have inserted
these Acts in their respective Offices of Saint Andrew, are of some
authority, as is also Saint Bernard, who has made them the groundwork
of his three admirable Sermons on Saint Andrew.
About Saint Andrew
Andrew, the Apostle, born at Bethsaida, a town of Galilee, was brother
of Peter, and disciple of John the Baptist. Having heard his master
say, speaking of Christ: “Behold the Lamb of God!” he followed Jesus,
and brought to him his brother also. When, afterwards, he was fishing
with his brother in the sea of Galilee, they were both called, before
any of the other Apostles, by our Lord, who, passing by, said to them:
“Come after me; I will make you to be fishers of men.” Without delay,
they left their nets and followed him. After the passion and
resurrection, Andrew went to spread the faith of Christ in Scythia in
Europe, which was the province assigned to him; then he travelled
through Epirus and Thrace, and by his teaching and miracles converted
inumerable souls to Christ. Afterwards, having reached Patrae in
Achaia, he persuaded many in that city to embrace the truth of the
Gospel. Finding that the Proconsul Ęgeas resisted the preaching of the
Gospel, he most freely upbraided him for that he, who desired to be
considered as a judge of men, should be so far deceived by devils as
not to acknowledge Christ to be God, the Judge of all.
Then Ęgeas being angry, said: “Cease to boast of this Christ, whom such
like words as these kept not from being crucified by the Jews.” But
finding that Andrew continued boldly preaching that Christ had offered
himself to be crucified for the salvation of mankind, he interrupts him
by an impious speech, and at length exhorts him to look to his own
interest and sacrifice to the gods. Andrew answered him: “I offer up
every day to almighty God, who is one and true, not the flesh of oxen,
nor the blood of goats, but the spotless Lamb upon the altar; of whose
flesh the whole multitude of the faithful eat, and the Lamb that is
sacrificed, remains whole and living.” Whereupon Ęgeas being exceeding
angry, ordered him to be thrust into prison, whence the people would
easily have freed Andrew, had he not himself appeased the multitude,
begging of them, with most earnest entreaty, that they would not keep
him from the long-sought-for crown of martyrdom, to which he was
Not long after this, he was brought before the tribunal, where he began
to extol the mystery of the Cross, and rebuke the judge for his
impiety. Ęgeas, no longer able to contain himself on hearing these
words, ordered him to be hoisted on a cross, and so to die like Christ.
Andrew, having been brought to the place of execution, seeing the Cross
at some distance, began to cry out: “O good Cross, made beautiful by
the body of my Lord! so long desired, so anxiously loved, so
unceasingly sought after, and now at last ready for my soul to enjoy!
take me from amidst men, and restore me to my Master, that by you He
may receive me, who by you redeemed me.” He was therefore fastened to
the cross, on which he hung alive two days, preaching without cessation
the faith of Christ: after which he passed to Him, whose death he had
so coveted. The Priests and Deacons of Achaia, who wrote his Passion,
attest that all the things which they have recorded were heard and seen
…the glory of Saint Andrew been blended, in Rome, with that of Saint
Peter. But the Apostle of the Cross, whose feast was heretofore kept,
in many Churches, with an Octave, has also been chosen as Patron of one
of the Kingdoms of the West. Scotland, when she was a Catholic country,
had put herself under his protection. May he still exercise his
protection over her, and, by his prayers, hasten her return to the true
Let us now, in union with the Church, pray to this holy Apostle, for
this is the glorious day of his feast: let us pay him that honour which
is due to him, and ask him for the help of which we stand in need.
We have scarce begun our mystic journey of Advent, seeking our divine
Saviour Jesus, when lo! God grants us to meet thee, O blessed Andrew,
at our very first step. When Jesus, our Messias, began his public life,
you hadst already become the obedient disciple of his Precursor, who
preached his Coming: you wast among the first of them who received the
Son of Mary as the Messias foretold in the Law and the Prophets. But
you couldst not keep the heavenly secret from him who was so dear to
thee; to Peter, then, you didst bear the Good Tidings, and didst lead
him to Jesus.
O blessed Apostle! we also are longing for the Messias, the Saviour of
our souls; since you hast found him, lead us also unto him. We place
under thy protection this holy period of expectation and preparation,
which is to bring us to the day of our Saviour’s Nativity, that divine
Mystery in which he will manifest himself to the world. Assist us to
render ourselves worthy of seeing him on that great night. The baptism
of Penance prepared you for receiving the grace of knowing the Word of
life; pray for us that we may become truly penitent and may purify our
hearts, during this holy time, and thus be able to behold Him, who has
said: Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.
Thou hast a special power of leading souls to Jesus, O glorious Saint!
for even he, who was to be made the Pastor of the whole flock, was
presented to the Messias by thee. By calling you to himself on this
day, our Lord has given you as the Patron of Christians who, each year,
at this season, are seeking that God in whom you art now living: they
must begin it with praying to you to show them the way which leads to
Thou teachest us this way; it is that of fidelity, of fidelity even to
the Cross. In that way you didst courageously walk: and because the
Cross leads to Jesus Christ, you didst passionately love the Cross.
Pray for us, O holy Apostle! that we may begin to understand this love
of the Cross; and that having understood it, we may put it in practice.
Thy brother says to us in his Epistle: Christ having suffered in the
flesh, be you also armed with the same thought.1 Thy feast, O blessed
Andrew! shows us you as the living commentary of this doctrine. Because
thy Master was crucified, you would also be crucified. From the high
throne to which you hast been raised by the Cross, pray for us, that
the Cross may be unto us the expiation of the sins which are upon us,
the quenching of the passions which burn within us, and the means of
uniting us by love to Him, who, through love alone for us, was nailed
to the Cross.
Important, indeed, and precious are these lessons of the Cross; but the
Cross, O blessed Apostle, is the perfection and the consummation, and
not the first commencement. It is the Infant God, it is the God of the
Crib that we must first know and love; it was the Lamb of God that
Saint John pointed out to thee; and it is that Lamb whom we so ardently
desire to contemplate. The austere and awful time of Jesus’ Passion is
not come; we are now in Advent. Fortify us for the day of combat; but
the grace we now most need, is compunction and tender love. We put
under your patronage this great work of our preparation for the Coming
of Jesus into our hearts.
Remember also, O blessed Andrew, the holy Church, of which you wast a
pillar, and which you hast beautified by the shedding of your blood:
lift up your hands for her to Him, whose battle she is for ever
fighting. Pray that the Cross she has to bear in this her pilgrimage,
may be lightened; that she may love this Cross, and that it may be the
source of her power and her glory. Remember with especial love the holy
Roman Church, the Mother and Mistress of all Churches; and by reason of
that fervent love she has for thee, obtain for her victory and peace by
the Cross. Visit anew, in your Apostolic zeal, the Church of
Constantinople, which has forfeited true light and unity, because she
would not render homage to Peter, your brother, whom you honouredst as
your Chief, out of love to Him who is the common Master of both him and
thee. And lastly, pray for Scotland, that has dishonoured thy
protection for these three past ages; obtain for her that the days of
her rebellion from the faith may be shortened, and, with the rest of
our Isle of Saints, soon return to the fold of the One Shepherd.