This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30 -- Feast of Saint Andrew

Andrew tied to a Saltire Cross
Although I wrote about Saint Andrew last year, it was a cursory post; I received a request to try again, so here's a little more on Saint Peter's older brother, the first-called apostle. In reading a little more about him, I find the most striking thing is his value to propaganda machines of all eras and ideologies, with one striking exception.  Consider:

  • He is the patron of Scotland, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, and Prussia.  He is also the patron of Patras (Greece), Amalfi (Italy), and Esqueira (Portugal).  Patronage may not seem like a tool of self-promotion, but there's more to the story than old bones in fancy boxes to help separate tourists from their cash.  
Scottish flag; Saint Andrew's cross
  • According to one source, when the Scots were picking their patron saint, they chose Andrew because he was the first called, outranking all other saints, even his little brother, Peter.   They deserve some one of that stature, don't you think?
  • A tradition arose that relics of Saint Andrew were brought to Scotland, though there's not complete agreement about who brought them, or when.  One story says that a monk named Rule (later, Saint Rule) was warned by an angel in a dream that the relics were about to be moved from Constantinople.  The unnamed angel advised him to gather those relics he could and take them to the end of the earth for safe-keeping.  He took a tooth, a kneecap, an arm bone, and some fingers.  When he was shipwrecked in Pictish territory, he settled at a place, later to be called St. Andrew's.  Another says that the bishop of Hexham brought the bones to King Ungus to fortify and sanctify his new religious community at Saint Andrew's.  
Cave complex in Basarabi, Romania
  • The saltire cross honors Andrew, as he is believed to have been crucified on such a cross rather than an upright one.  Like his brother, who was crucified upside down, Andrew did not want to be perceived as rivaling Jesus, even in the manner of execution.  The saltire was used in Scotland's flag, and thus every flag that includes the Union Jack, as well as the naval jack (flags) of Russia and the Spanish cross of Burgundy.  NB. The designer of the Confederate flag adopted the saltire cross because he did not want to use religious imagery. [Derisive comment explicated.]  
  • Even the super-Stalinist Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, bolstered his Romanian nationalist theory of Protochronism with some early Christian engravings on the walls of a cave to support the notion of a great Dacian civilization prior to Roman colonization.   Jesus may not have been welcome in Marxist Romania, but Saint Andrew was.  
  • All that, plus Ephraim the Minor's mental gymnastics,  justifying St. Nino's second christening of Georgia in the fourth century, a thesis necessary to reconcile historical fact with the autonomy of the Georgian Church, which could only have deserved autocephalic status if Andrew had in fact establish a church there.  And Andrew's legendary visit to the future city Kiev, where he prophesied a city that would become the Jerusalem of Russia.  He is not the patron of self-promotion, but it does not stop shameless self-promoters from hijacking his legacy.