Saint Andrew was a fisherman by trade, called to be an Apostle of Christ and martyred upon a cross form called crux decussate (X-shaped cross or “saltire.”) His crucifixion took place mid to late 1st century at Patras, Achaia, Roman Empire. The saltire, also known as Saint Andrew’s Cross, is the central figure on the flag of Scotland, of which Andrew is Patron Saint.
Andrew, whose name in Greek means manly and brave, was born in 6 BC in the village of Bethsaida along the Sea of Galilee. A faithful and uncomplicated man, he led an extraordinary life of missionary work. Some scholars believe that he preached along the Black Sea, as far as Kiev and on to Novgorod. Saint Andrew became Patron Saint of the Ukraine, Romania, and Russia.
In the Orthodox tradition, Believers refer to Andrew as protokletos, or First Called. This claim is substantiated in scripture, specifically John: 40-42: Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John (The Baptist) said. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah.” Then he brought Simon to Jesus.
Matthew’s scriptural account tells a slightly different story. We read in Matthew 4:18-20 the following: As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” And at once they left their nets and followed him.
Whether called first or simultaneously first with his brother Peter, Saint Andrew is an example of humility. There is little record of his interactions with Jesus and the other disciples; however, we know that it was he who told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes. Andrew was also one of four disciples who approached Jesus on The Mount of Olives to inquire about signs of Jesus’ return. Neither gregarious nor impetuous like his more famous brother, Peter, he served Jesus with a quiet and sincere heart. Tradition, rooted in ancient writings praise Saint Andrew for his great love of the Cross and his Savior.