Who was Saint Andrew ? Despite what many may think, St. Andrew, who is the patron saint of Scotland, did not live and work in that country. In fact, his legendary connections to Scotland appeared centuries after his death.
Andrew, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, was a fisherman by trade. After Jesus’s crucifixion, Andrew carried on Jesus’s work. He brought the gospel to parts of Asia Minor, specifically to Syria. Roman soldiers ended Andrew’s life. According to the traditions of the time, the soldiers crucified Andrew on a diagonal cross. Later, his “relics” were taken to Constantinople. Reportedly, those relics were moved to Italy in the later part of the fourth century. During that time, Saint Regulus managed to bring some of Saint Andrew’s bones to Fife, in Scotland. We are unsure of these facts because the bones no longer exist. They were reportedly lost during the Reformation, but a plaque in the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral marks where the bones once were kept. (Catholic Online)
Outside of Scotland, Saint Andrew’s Day is of little significance. However, it is a special day for Scots worldwide.
Why is Saint Andrew the patron saint of Scotland? In the ninth century AD, control of the area around Lothian led to a conflict between the Picts and the Scots and the Northumbrians. Near Athelstaneford in East Lothian, Angus McFergus, the leader of the Picts, had a dream in which St. Andrew promised him a victory. In the midst of the battle the following day, Angus supposedly saw an X-shaped cross in the sky above him. The sight gave the Picts the inspiration they needed to win the confrontation. The white cross against a blue background became part of the saltire, the Scottish national flag.
From The Official Gateway to Scotland, we learn: “Having Saint Andrew as Scotland’s Patron gave the country several advantages: because he was the brother of Saint Peter, founder of the Church, the Scots were able to appeal to the Pope in 1320 (The Declaration of Arbroath) for protection against the attempts of English kings to conquer the Scots. Traditionally, Scots also claimed that they were descended from the Scythians who lived on the shores of the Black Sea in what is now Romania and Bulgaria and were converted by Saint Andrew.
“In the fascinating legend of The Voyage of St Rule from Greece to Scotland we can see the complicated spread of devotion to Saint Andrew – from Constantinople in modern Turkey, to St Andrews in Fife. St Rule (Regulus in Latin) and the six nuns and monks who took the long sea-journey with him, stands for the missionaries and monasteries who worked long and hard to bring the Good News to Britain. They lived in communities organised by a monastic Rule – hence the name St Rule or Regulus.
“As Scotland slowly became a nation it needed a national symbol to rally round and motivate the country. Saint Andrew was an inspired choice and the early Picts and Scots modelled themselves on Saint Andrew and on one of his strong supporters, the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, whose statue you can see today in York, where the he visited his father, a Roman General then trying to force the Picts to go back north.”
30th of November
St. Andrew’s Day is the feast day of Saint Andrew. It is celebrated on the 30th of November. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Greece, Romania, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and Saint Andrew, Barbados. (Wikipedia)