Friday, November 30, 2012

Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle

Image of St. Andrew from the apse painting at Sant'Andrea della Valle, Rome, Italy.

Today is the feast of the great St. Andrew the Apostle -- first called by Our Divine Lord, brother of St. Peter, one-time disciple of St. John the Baptist, and patron of Scotland and Russia.  Of course, we can't neglect to note that the Patriarch of Constantinople is the successor of St. Andrew the Apostle.

St. Andrew was born at Bethsaida, was, like his brother a fisherman.  He also followed St. John the Baptist, which led him to Christ -- Whom St. Andrew brought his brother, St. Peter to see.  When the Apostles went forth to preach the Gospel, St. Andrew is thought to have preached in Cappadocia, Bithynia, Byzantium (where he appoint the first Bishop, St. Stachys), finally being martyred during the reign of Nero in Achaia.  Tradition has him crucified on a cross shaped like an "X," hence the flag of Scotland -- the St. Andrew's Cross.

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The Flag of Scotland -- the St. Andrew's Cross.

His relics have ended up, by various twists of history, in several major locations: Patras, Greece; the Cathedral of Amalfi, Italy; the Cathedral of St. Mary's in Edinburgh, Scotland.

You can read a bit about the life of St. Andrew at these sites:

Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Andrew the Apostle

Patron Saints Index: St. Andrew the Apostle

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The Facade of Sant'Andrea della Valle in Rome.

One of this blogger's favorite Churches in Rome, Italy, is that of Sant'Andrea della Valle on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, a Theatine Church where Pope Pius II (1458-1464AD) and Pope Pius III (1503AD), both of the family Piccolomini, are buried.  It is also the burial place of St. Giuseppe Maria Tomasi (+1713AD), a Theatine Cardinal (Patron Saints Index: St. Joseph Mary Tomasi)  The Church was constructed in its current form from 1590-1650.  Here is the website of the Church:

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The interior of the Church of Sant'Andrea della Valle in Rome.

Today is also the traditional day to begin the St. Andrew's Novena, reciting the following prayer fifteen times a day until Christmas:

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. (Mention your intentions here) Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.

Live well!

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