Saint Andrew the apostle is a Christian apostle and a brother to Simon Peter the apostle. He is also the son of Jonah (or John) and was born in Bethsaida, on the Galilee Sea. It is said that Andrew was martyred by crucifixion in Patras (Patrae) in Achaea on a Crux decussate cross (X shaped cross), which is now commonly referred to as the St. Andrew’s cross. He chose to face his crucifixion on this type of cross out of his own choice, for he deemed himself not worthy to be crucified on a cross, similar to which Jesus Christ was crucified on. The iconography of his martyrdom, symbolized by an apostle bound on an X shaped cross was not standardized prior to the middle ages according to Judith Calvert’s conclusion, who re-examined the materials studied by Louis Réau.
According to the Gospel of John, St. Andrew was initially a disciple of John the Baptist. Andrew was fast to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and introduced him to his brother Simon Peter. From then henceforth, the two became the disciples of Jesus. Andrew is also referred to as being present on a number of very important occasions and as one of the disciples closely attached to Jesus.
St. Andrew’s Crucifixion
In the Golden Legend’s Life of the saint, the crucifixion of St. Andrew is the main episode, depicting a long dialogue between a roman official in Achaia and Andrew. Here, St. Andrew outlines the basics of the Christian doctrines with emphasis on the crosses’ saving power. St. Andrew’s cross is the most popular Christian portrait for this reason and his crucifixion is a very common image in narratives. As early as the 5th century, St. Andrew the Apostle was depicted in a group of fresco portraits with a cross, outside the St. Paul walls, and in mosaics at the same basilica in the 13th century relating his crucifixion to that of Christ.
St. Andrew’s crucifixion was supposed to have lasted for two days. While on the cross, St. Andrew preached to the crowd in an attempt to convert them so they could demand his release. However, the Roman governor ordered his men to take St. Andrew down from his cross but they were struck miraculously by paralysis. This was as a result of St. Peter’s prayer that he be let to undergo martyrdom.
St. Andrew’s discipline
St. Andrew the Apostle is commonly depicted holding a book and a cross. According to the Golden Legend, St. Andrew spoke of his longing for “the purity of contemplation” just before his death. The book he holds and the monkish attire he wears in some portraits are behind the way St. Andrew seems to meditate on the Crucifixion. The St. Andrew’s prayers are a subject of the narrative images including those of his crucifixion, the legendary chapters from his years as a preacher, the miracles affected in his name and his calling by the Christ (Read Matthew 4:18-20).
St. Andrew’s discipline and crucifixion has earned a greater place than other disciples in the Christian community. The most common St. Andrew’s prayers are:
- Julia D Palmer
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