Skip to comments.St. AndrewL Lighting the way for Advent
Posted on 11/29/2004 7:34:35 PM PST by lightman
As sun moves southward toward the winter solstice, my apparent sunrise actually becomes earlier; closer to the time listed in an almanac. In the summer the rising sun is blocked for several hours by hill to the northeast; in the winter sunrise is almost directly over the notch in the hills carved by a stream draining nearly two dozen square miles.
For a few days at the end of November the morning sunrise streams through my office window, then through the narrow hallway leading to the rest of the house, above the kitchen counter-wall before coming to rest squarely on a doorway frame on the far side of the great room. The red-orange glow is as focused as a theater spotlight.
This apparition is at its peak on November 30, the Festival of St. Andrew the Apostle. St. Andrews Day determines the beginning of Advent: The Sunday nearest is always the First Sunday in Advent. If November 30 falls Monday through Wednesday; Advent begins the Sunday preceding; Thursday through Saturday Advent begins the Sunday following.
A few year ago, after much searching, I found a small icon of St. Andrew to hang on that sunlit doorframe. Now, on those days surrounding the Apostles festival, the icons gold leaf glows with an ethereal radiance for a few minutes at sunrise, for a time just long enough to pray the Benedictus of Morning Prayer:
By the tender mercy of our God,Surely more than ever, our nation and our world stand in need of this mercy. And the icon of St. Andrew can teach us much about how that mercy may come to shine in all the dark places.
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace
. --Luke 1:79-80
The compassionate mercy of our God is a gift of grace, free and undeserved. The saint on the icon, though surrounded by gold, radiates no light of its own. Only when bathed by the focused beam of the rising sun does it emit a glow.
So also for St. Andrew the Apostle, who had no claim of any special talent or ability. My friend and pastoral colleague Jeffrey Wilson has written of St. Andrew:
He never moved to center stage, but played well an essential supporting role. He was, so someone observed, the great introducer. Three times St. Andrew took someone to Jesus, first and perhaps most significantly his own brother Peter, who Jesus appointed to head the earthly church. Andrews was a ministry of moving along the fringe of the crowd and making sure someone got the attention he needed when otherwise his needs and gifts might have been ignored.
But when touched by grace, touched by the One who is light from Light, Andrew would emit a glow of grace sufficient to mark him unmistakingly as a disciple of Jesus. Even foreigners and strangers saw that reflected light; some Greeks at Passover approached Andrew with the deepest yearning of the soul: Sir, we wish to see Jesus.
Our journey this Advent and Christmastide is a one that is surrounded by light. We begin the new Church year by hearing Isaiahs prophecy of peace, which concludes:
O house of Jacob,And our journey is completed on Epiphany with another prophecy of Isaiah:
come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
Arise, shine; for your light has come,Throughout this season, may we so radiate the light of Lights that others would see Jesus in us; that they would walk with us in the light of the Lord; and that we all would be guided into the way of peace.
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you....
Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Beginning on St. Andrew the Apostle's feast day, November 30, the following beautiful prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas. This is a very meditative prayer that helps us increase our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and helps us prepare ourselves spiritually for His coming.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
In which the Son of God was born
Of the most pure Virgin Mary,
in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
[hear mention your request]
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and of His blessed Mother. Amen.
God calls each one of us to be a saint.
November 30, 2006
Andrew was St. Peters brother, and was called with him. "As [Jesus] was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is now called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed him" (Matthew 4:18-20).
John the Evangelist presents Andrew as a disciple of John the Baptist. When Jesus walked by one day, John said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." Andrew and another disciple followed Jesus. "Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, What are you looking for? They said to him, Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are you staying? He said to them, Come, and you will see. So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day" (John 1:38-39a).
Little else is said about Andrew in the Gospels. Before the multiplication of the loaves, it was Andrew who spoke up about the boy who had the barley loaves and fishes (see John 6:8-9). When the Gentiles went to see Jesus, they came to Philip, but Philip then had recourse to Andrew (see John 12:20-22).
Legend has it that Andrew preached the Good News in what is now modern Greece and Turkey and was crucified at Patras.
Holy images ping!
For your reflection and meditation.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
As first of the Apostles to be called, O Andrew, brother of him (Peter) who was foremost, beseech the Master of all to grant the world peace and our souls great mercy.
Kontakion in the Second Tone
Let us praise the namesake of bravery, the divinely eloquent and first to be called of the Disciples of Christ, the kinsman of Peter. As he called out to him in days of old, so now he calls to us, "Come, we have found Him for whom we yearned."
Here's an interesting note; today is also the feast of +Froumentios, Archbishop of Abyssina. So if you see any Ethiopians this evening, wish them a good feast day. Their brothers in the old country are fighting the Mohammadens even as I tyoe this.
From the OCA website (Note: Today is the observance for those of us on the Gregorian calendar; it will be 13 days later for those on the Julian calendar, including the Serbian Orthodox Church. That issue is yet one more thing that makes my church situation truly interesting!)
The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called was the first of the Apostles to follow Christ, and he later brought his own brother, the holy Apostle Peter, to Christ (John 1:35-42). The future apostle was from Bethsaida, and from his youth he turned with all his soul to God. He did not enter into marriage, and he worked with his brother as a fisherman. When the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John began to preach, St Andrew became his closest disciple. St John the Baptist himself sent to Christ his own two disciples, the future Apostles Andrew and John the Theologian, declaring Christ to be the Lamb of God.
After the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, St Andrew went to the Eastern lands preaching the Word of God. He went through Asia Minor, Thrace, Macedonia, he reached the River Danube, went along the coast of the Black Sea, through Crimea, the Black Sea region and along the River Dniepr he climbed to the place where the city of Kiev now stands.
He stopped overnight on the hills of Kiev. Rising in the morning, he said to those disciples that were with him: "See these hills? Upon these hills shall shine forth the beneficence of God, and there will be a great city here, and God shall raise up many churches." The apostle went up around the hills, blessed them and set up a cross. Having prayed, he went up even further along the Dniepr and reached a settlement of the Slavs, where Novgorod was built. From here the apostle went through the land of the Varangians towards Rome for preaching, and again he returned to Thrace, where in the small village of Byzantium, the future Constantinople, he founded the Church of Christ. The name of the holy Apostle Andrew links the mother, the Church of Constantinople, with her daughter, the Russian Church.
On his journeys the First-Called Apostle endured many sufferings and torments from pagans: they cast him out of their cities and they beat him. In Sinope they pelted him with stones, but remaining unharmed, the persistant disciple of Christ continued to preach to people about the Savior. Through the prayers of the Apostle, the Lord worked miracles. By the labors of the holy Apostle Andrew, Christian Churches were established, for which he provided bishops and clergy. The final city to which the Apostle came was the city of Patra, where he was destined to suffer martyrdom.
The Lord worked many miracles through His disciple in Patra. The infirm were made whole, and the blind received their sight. Through the prayers of the Apostle, the illustrious citizen Sosios recovered from serious illness; he healed Maximilla, wife of the governor of Patra, and his brother Stratokles. The miracles accomplished by the Apostle and his fiery speech enlightened almost all the citizens of the city of Patra with the true Faith.
Few pagans remained at Patra, but among them was the prefect of the city, Aegeatos. The Apostle Andrew repeatedly turned to him with the words of the Gospel. But even the miracles of the Apostle did not convince Aegeatos. The holy Apostle with love and humility appealed to his soul, striving to reveal to him the Christian mystery of life eternal, through the wonderworking power of the Holy Cross of the Lord. The angry Aegeatos gave orders to crucify the apostle. The pagan thought he might undo St Andrew's preaching if he were to put him to death on the cross.
St Andrew the First-Called accepted the decision of the prefect with joy and with prayer to the Lord, and went willingly to the place of execution. In order to prolong the suffering of the saint, Aegeatos gave orders not to nail the saint's hands and feet, but to tie them to the cross. For two days the apostle taught the citizens who gathered about. The people, in listening to him, with all their souls pitied him and tried to take St Andrew down from the cross. Fearing a riot of the people, Aegeatos gave orders to stop the execution. But the holy apostle began to pray that the Lord would grant him death on the cross. Just as the soldiers tried to take hold of the Apostle Andrew, they lost control of their hands. The crucified apostle, having given glory to God, said: "Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit." Then a blazing ray of divine light illumined the cross and the martyr crucified upon it. When the light faded, the holy Apostle Andrew had already given up his holy soul to the Lord. Maximilla, the wife of the prefect, had the body of the saint taken down from the cross, and buried him with honor.
A few centuries later, under the emperor Constantine the Great, the relics of the holy Apostle Andrew were solemnly transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of the Holy Apostles beside the relics of the holy Evangelist Luke and St Paul's disciple St Timothy.
From the wikipedia article on St. Andrew the First-Called:
Andrew preached in Asia Minor and in Scythia, along the Black Sea as far as the Volga. Hence he became a patron saint of Romania and Russia. Traditionally, he became the first bishop of Byzantium in 38, a position which would later become Patriarch of Constantinople.
On this St. Andrew's day, 2006, Pope Benedict XIV is in occupied Constantinople with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Saint Andrew, Apostle
Saint Andrew - El Greco
1606 - Oil on Canvas
Museo del Greco - Toledo
Venite post me, faciam vos fieri piscatores hominum.
Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
- Matthew 4:19
We humbly entreat thy majesty, O Lord,
that the blessed apostle Andrew may be as constant an advocate for us in Thy court as he was eminent in preaching and ruling over Thy Church. Amen.
- Collect for the Feast of Saint Andrew
The Church celebrates the feast of Saint Andrew on November 30, an important date in the annual liturgical calendar, because it determines the date of the First Sunday of Advent, which is the Sunday nearest this Feast. Saint Andrew is the patron saint fishermen, and of both Scotland and Russia.
Andrew, the first Apostle called by Jesus, was a fisherman from Bethsaida and the brother of Simon Peter. A follower of John the Baptist, Andrew recognized Jesus as the Messiah when John baptized Our Lord in the Jordan River, and he introduced his brother Simon to Jesus. The two brothers continued as fishermen until Jesus called them as Apostles.
After Pentecost, it is believed that Andrew went to Greece to preach the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
Saint Andrew, called the "Protoclet" (or "first called") by the Greeks, was crucified at Achaia by order of Roman Governor Aegeas during the reign of Nero. He was bound, not nailed, to the X-shaped cross in order to prolong his sufferings. According to tradition, he preached from the cross for two days, and died on the third day.
This saint is the patron of Greece and Scotland. Below is a replica of the Great Seal of Saint Andrew, Scotland. The Cross of Saint Andrew, an X shaped cross, is visible in the center.
We read of the first encounter of the future apostle with Christ in John 1:35-42:
The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" And they said to Him "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and see". They came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ).
He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas "(which means Peter).
(Revised Standard Version - Catholic edition)
Readings for Mass:
in your kindness hear our petitions.
You called Andrew the apostle
to preach the gospel and guide your Church in faith.
May he always be our friend in your presence
to help us with his prayers.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit.
First Reading: Romans 10:9-18
If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. The scripture says, "No one who believes in Him will be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows His riches upon all who call upon Him. For, "every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."
But how are men to call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.
But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for "Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world."
Gospel reading: Matthew 4:18-22
As He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fisherman. And He said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately t they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
Prayer for Fishermen
O God, who brought our fathers through the Red Sea and carried them safely through the deep as they sang the praises of Thy name, we humbly beseech Thee to guard Thy servants aboard ship and having repelled all adversities, bring them to the desired port after a calm voyage.
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee in unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.
Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy upon all seafarers.
Our Father....Hail Mary...
Our Lady, Star of the Sea, pray for us.
St. Peter, Pray for us.
St Andrew, pray for us.
Lord save us or we perish.
(This traditional prayer came to us from Lafitte, Louisiana. It was published in the St. Anthony Catholic Church Parish Bulletin, Aug.4, 1991)
Family Celebration of the Feast of Saint Andrew
A Biblical Dinner
Saint Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen. An appropriate way to celebrate his feast is with a fish dinner. This can be as simple as buying fried fish carryout, or as special as the menu (below, with recipes) that appears in A Continual Feast by Evelyn Birge Vitz, originally published by Harper & Row in 1995, now available in paperback from Ignatius Press.
At the blessing, it would be good to add the collect for the feast printed above.
"A Biblical Dinner"
from A Continual Feast
Broiled Fish, Biblical Style
Lentils with Cumin and Coriander
Cucumbers with Cumin and Yogurt
Wheat and Barley Loaves, Flavored with Mint and Olive Oil
Broiled fish, biblical style
2 pounds fresh or defrosted fish: any small fish, fish fillets, fish steaks or larger fish split
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Red Wine Vinegar or Lemon Juice
Greek Olives or other strongly flavored olives
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves.
Clean, rinse, and salt the fish. Rub with garlic, and brush with oil. Preheat the broiler. Place the fish in an oiled pan. Broil small fish about 3 inches from the flame, larger fish about 5 inches away. Broil split fish skin side down. During the cooking, baste generously with olive oil and a little vinegar or lemon juice.
Serve the fish on a bed of lettuce, surrounded by Greek olives. Sprinkle with mint leaves, if you wish. Yield 4-6 servings
Cucumber with cumin and yogurt
2 cucumbers, peeled and grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seed, heated briefly in a dry skillet, or 1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups plain yogurt, lightly whipped
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and chill for 1 hour or more. Yield 6-8 servings
Lentils with cumin and coriander
1 cup dried lentils
5 cups water
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Rinse the lentils and carefully pick over to remove any pebbles. Bring 5 cups of water to boil in a large saucepan. Add lentils, and boil for 2 minutes, then remove them from the heat and set aside for 1 hour. In the meantime, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. When the lentils have soaked for 1 hour, add the onions, garlic, cumin, and coriander to the pan with the lentils. Cook, partly covered, for 1 hour or more, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are quite soft and the water is mostly absorbed. Add more water if necessary to keep dish from drying out too much, but the mixture should be very thick. Add salt and freshly ground pepper; taste for seasoning. Yield 4-6 servings
Wheat and barley loaves
1 teaspoon honey
2 cups warm water (100-110 °F)
1 envelope dry yeast
1 cup barley flour
2 teaspoons salt
about 5 cups flour
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 teaspoons crushed dried mint leaves
Mix the honey with the water in a large bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast and let sit until foamy.
Stir in the barley flour and the salt. Gradually add the all purpose flour, mixing well between additions. Add the olive oil and the mint. Mix thoroughly.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. knead it for about 15 minutes, or until it is shiny and elastic. Add more flour, while you are kneading, if the dough is too sticky.
Form the dough into a ball, and place it in a greased bowl. Cover with oiled wax paper and a towel, let the dough rise until approximately doubled in volume-1 1/2 to 2 hours. When a finger inserted into the dough leaves a hole that remains, the dough is ready.
Punch the dough down with your fist. Put the dough on your work surface and cut in half with a knife. Knead each half into a ball. Cover the balls, and allow them to rise for 15 minutes.
Form each ball into a large flattish loaf and place on an oiled pan. Make several slashes or a cross with a very sharp knife on the top of each loaf.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350 °F. The loaves are done if they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. (These loaves won't brown as much as regular bread.)
Yields 2 eight inch flattish loaves.
Variations: For a more pronounced barley flavor, increase the proportion of barley flour. Just remember that the bread won't rise as much. Substitute cinnamon or coriander for the mint.
1 cup coarsely chopped dried figs
1 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups chopped walnuts
Mix the fruits, the honey, and the cinnamon. Form the fruit mixture into small cakes (about 2 inches across) or into little balls. Roll the balls or press the cakes onto the chopped nuts, coating them well.
Yields about 12 cakes or 20 balls.
Variations: Use chopped toasted almonds instead of the walnuts; substitute dried apricots for one of the other fruits.
Saint Andrew is revered by Catholics in Scotland as their patron, and the saint's X-shaped cross appears as an emblem on the Scottish arms.
The following recipes for scones (the Scottish "ancestor" of American biscuits) -- both traditional and simplified -- are variations adapted for the saint's feast.
2 cups flour
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup dried currants
1 egg, slightly beaten (optional, reserving about 1 tablespoon for glaze)
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (for sprinkling on scones)
Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender (or two knives) until mixture looks like very coarse meal. Add the sugar and the baking powder and stir well. (Follow the remaining directions.)
2 cups prepared biscuit baking mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried currants
1 egg (optional)
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (for sprinkling on scones)
Combine the egg with the milk and add to the dry ingredients; then add the dried currants and mix well. The dough should be fairly stiff.
Turn the dough out onto a well floured pastry board, and knead about ten times, adding more flour if necessary, to keep the dough from sticking. Reflour the surface, and roll the dough into a circle about 3/4" thick. Cut with a round biscuit cutter about 3" in diameter. Place the scones about an inch on a baking sheet, greased or sprayed with cooking spray.
Cut a large "X" in the top of each scone (to represent Saint Andrew's cross) and brush them all with the reserved beaten egg (or with milk) and sprinkle them generously with granulated sugar.
Bake the scones in a 350º oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Serve hot, with butter and honey or jam.
The fish is a symbol of the Christian faith because the letters of the Greek word for fish, "ichthys" form an acronym for the Greek phrase, "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior". Early Christians, during the time of persecutions when it was not safe to be a known as a Christian, drew a fish in the ground in order to secretly identify themselves to other believers. Even today one sees this fish symbol, often containing the Greek letters spelling "fish", on religious articles and even on bumper stickers.
Our project for children for the Feast of Saint Andrew -- especially appropriate for the patron of fishermen -- is to make a sun catcher of the Christian fish symbol.. (The fish might also simply be colored by children, or used as a pattern to decorate a cake or large cookie to celebrate this feast.)
To make the sun catcher, you will need paper, colored markers, colored pencils or crayons, scissors, cooking oil, paper towel, yarn or ribbon for hanging.
Click on the fish image above for the full-size picture to color.
1. Print out copies of the fish design on plain white paper (even better, use white card or cover stock).
2. Have the children color the fish with markers or crayons. Markers are brighter, but crayon will work. (Note: While they are coloring the fish, explain to them the meaning of the Greek letters on the side of the drawing, and tell the children what Jesus meant when he said to Saint Andew and Saint Peter, "I will make you fishers of men" -- and that all Christians are called to withess, to spread message of salvation through Jesus Christ to others, as the apostles and disciples did.)
3. Wad up the paper towel and dip it in a saucer containing a small amount of oil, and apply the oil all over the colored drawing generously (but not dripping), letting it soak into the paper. Use a dry paper towel to remove excess oil. The oil will make the paper translucent, giving it a stained-glass effect.
4. Cut out the fish and make a small hole about half an inch from the top. Cut the yarn or ribbon about 12" long and thread it through the hole, then tie it to make a hanging loop.
5. Hang the Christian fish in a window so the light can shine through it, where it will be a daily reminder during the season of Advent of our life as Christians permeated by the Light of Christ.
How many saints are there? Here’s an apostle, and we know very little about him.
There are so many unsung heroes testifying, we really have to humble ourselves in their midst.