It is 30th November and Saint Andrew’s Day. To celebrate this important day, the children and staff at St Paul’s Primary School are wearing something blue in colour. You can find out more about Saint Andrew in the description below. You can also see our gallery of children in blue at the base of this blog.
Who was St Andrew?
Andrew the Apostle, aka Saint Andrew, was a disciple of Jesus; he is a highly significant figure in the New Testament. He was a fisherman from Galilee, Israel, who encountered Jesus and started following him. Andrew deeply believed in Jesus and God and travelled around the world to introduce the new religion to people. Even after the death of Jesus, he continued to spread the word about him. However, the Romans didn’t appreciate his work to convert people, and he was sadly killed.
St Andrew was martyred by crucifixion in a Greek city. While according to various legends his relics are scattered all over the world, his remains were actually first moved to Constantinople, then to Amalfi in Italy. There are hundreds of churches and cathedrals erected in his name; one of the most important ones is St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Patras, where he was crucified on an x-shaped cross. Parts of this cross can be found there to this very day.
St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and also of fishermen, fishmongers and rope makers. On the annual celebration of St Andrew’s Day, people all around Scotland hold festivities and markets and attend dinners with traditional Scottish food, poetry, music and dance. The earliest testimony reciting miraculous stories about Saint Andrew dates back to the 3rd century. The “Acts of Andrew” (Acta Andreae) writes about the deeds done by Andrew during his lifetime of following Jesus. There are a number of legends and traditions about Saint Andrew from Cyprus, Malta, Georgia, Romania, Scotland and Spain.
St Andrew and Jesus
St Andrew is said to be one of the most important disciples of Jesus Christ and one that was really close to him. In certain gospels, it is mentioned that Andrew told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes and that he was present at the Last Supper. Andrew was also among the four disciples who went to the Mount of Olives to ask about the return of Jesus.
Why is St Andrew the patron saint of Scotland?
Among many other countries, St Andrew is also the patron saint of Scotland. It was in 1320 that Scotland first recognised Saint Andrew as her official patron saint in the Declaration of Arbroath. This was a letter written by the Scottish nobility and the community to the pope.
But the story itself as to why the saint became so important to Scotland came from a much earlier time. According to legend, following his crucifixion in 60 AD, some of his relics were moved from Patras. A monk called St Rule (or St Regulus) had a dream in which an angel told him to take a few bones of St Andrew to the end of the world and keep them safe there.
St Rule followed the guidance and set sail to travel to the very edges of Earth. However, somewhere close to the east coasts of Scotland his ship got wrecked, and he was washed ashore with the relics. He buried them and built a church on top of them. The place he arrived is now called St. Andrews.
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