“A brother whom another brother had wronged came to see Abba Sisoes and said to him. ‘My brother has hurt me and I want to avenge myself ‘ The old man pleaded with him saying, ‘No, my child, leave vengeance to God.’ He said to him, ‘I shall not rest until I have avenged myself.’ The old man said, ‘Brother, let us pray.’ Then the old man stood up and said, ‘God, we no longer need you to care for us, since we do justice for ourselves.’ Hearing these words, the brother fell at the old man’s feet, saying, ‘I will no longer seek justice from my brother; forgive me, abba.'”
Andrew was at first a disciple of John the Baptizer along with John the Theologian. When the Forerunner pointed out Jesus as the Christ, they both became His disciples. Andrew took his brother, Saint Peter, to meet Jesus. He is called the Protokletos (the First Called) because he was the first Apostle to be summoned by Jesus into His service. Andrew and his brother Peter made their living as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Both men became Apostles, and while Peter symbolically came to represent the Church of the West, Andrew likewise represents the Church of the East.
The First Called, Apostle to Greece and Beyond
According to ecclesiastical tradition, Andrew began his missionary activity in the Provinces of Vithynia and Pontus on the southern shores of the Black Sea. Later he journeyed to the City of Byzantium and founded the Christian Church there, ordaining the first Bishop of Byzantium, Stachys, who was one of the 70 disciples of the Lord.
After Pentecost, Andrew taught in Byzantium, Thrace, Russia, Epirus, and the Peloponnese. In Amisos, he converted the Jews in the temple, baptized them, healed their sick, built a church, and left a priest for them. In Bithynia, he taught, healed their sick, and drove away the wild beasts that bothered them. His prayers destroyed the pagan temples, and those who resisted his words became possessed and gnawed at their bodies until Andrew healed them.
The First Called, Wonderworker
In one of his several missionary journeys to Greece, Andrew visited the City of Patras. Through his preaching and the miracles of healing he performed, in the name of Jesus, many persons were converted to Christianity. Among those healed was Maximilla, the wife of the Roman Proconsul, Aegeates. Seeing this miracle of healing, Stratoklis, the highly intellectual brother of the Proconsul, also became a Christian, and Andrew consecrated and enthroned him as the first Bishop of Patras.
As a prophet, he foretold of the greatness of Kiev as a city and a stronghold of Christianity. In Sinope, he prayed for the imprisoned Apostle Matthias, and his chains fell from him and the cell door opened. The people beat Andrew, breaking his teeth, cutting his fingers, and left him for dead in a dung heap. Jesus appeared to him and healed him, telling him to be of good cheer. When the people saw him the next day, they were amazed and they believed. At another time, he raised a woman’s only son from the dead.
The Crucifixion of the First Called
The conversions to the Christian Faith by members of his own family infuriated the Proconsul Aegeates, and he decided, with the urging of the idolators who advised him, to crucify Andrew. The crucifixion was carried out on an X-shaped cross with the body of the Apostle upside down so that he saw neither the earth nor his executioners, but only the sky which he glorified as the heaven in which he would meet his Lord. Aegeates had him tied to the cross in this manner so that he would live longer and suffer more.
Twenty thousand of the faithful stood by and mourned. Even then, Andrew taught them and exhorted them to endure temporary sufferings for the kingdom of heaven. Out of fear of the people, Aegeates came to remove Andrew from the cross. Andrew, however, said that Aegeates could still become a Christian, but that he had already seen Jesus and he would not allow himself to be removed from the cross. Many tried to undo the knots, but their hands all became numb. Suddenly, a heavenly light illumined Andrew for about a half hour. When it left, Andrew had given up his spirit.
His body was tenderly removed from the cross by Bishop Stratoklis and Maximilla, and buried with all of the honor befitting the Apostle. Soon countless numbers of Christians made their way to Patras to pay reverence to the grave of Andrew, and when Aegeates realized that the man he had put to death was truly a holy man of God a demon fell upon him and tormented him so powerfully that he committed suicide.
Re-burial in Constaninople
In the month of March in the year 357 the Emperor Constantine (son of Constantine The Great) ordered that the body of Saint Andrew be removed from Patras and be reinterred in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. With all the magnificence and honor of the Byzantine Empire and the Great Church of Christ at Constantinople, Saint Andrew was returned to the City that had first heard the message of Jesus Christ from his lips. Thus he became in death, as well as in life, the founder of the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople. His relics are in Constantinople along with the Apostle Luke and Timothy, the disciple of Paul, in the Church of the Apostles. (…)
The Call of Saint Andrew
Today the voice of Saint Andrew continues to call on all Christians, especially the Orthodox Christians throughout the world, who celebrate his memory on November 30th in the liturgical year. His unstilled spirit beckons across the centuries proclaiming: “The Saviour of the world has come! He is the Christ, the Son of God!” This is the call of Saint Andrew to all men for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow” (Hebrews 13:8).
(Source: Fr. Andrew Damick – Happy Names Day, Father!)
Holy Apostle Andrew, pray unto God for us!
“Listen to what the Lord Himself tells us: ‘Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you shall find rest for your souls’ (Mt. 11:29). There you have it in a nutshell: He has taught us the root and cause of all evils and also the remedy for it, leading to all good. He shows us that pretensions to superiority cast us down and that it is impossible to obtain mercy except by the contrary, that is to say, by humility. Self-elevation begets contempt and disobedience begets perdition whereas humility begets obedience and the saving of souls. And I call that real humility which is not humble in word and outward appearance but is deeply planted in the heart; for this is what He meant when He said that ‘I am meek and humble of heart.'”
– Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
St. Ephrem the Syrian (306-373 AD)
“Whether you are in church, or in your house, or in the country; whether you are guarding sheep, or constructing buildings, or present at drinking parties, do not stop praying. When you are able, bend your knees, when you cannot, make intercession in your mind, ‘at evening and at morning and at midday’. If prayer precedes your work and if, when you rise from your bed, your first movements are accompanied by prayer, sin can find no entrance to attack your soul.”
– St. Ephrem the Syrian, On Prayer
“I also maintain that those who are punished in Gehenna are scourged by the scourge of love. Nay, what is so bitter and vehement as the torment of love? I mean that those who have become conscious that they have sinned against love suffer greater torment from this than from any fear of punishment. For the sorrow caused in the heart by sin against love is more poignant than any torment. It would be improper for a man to think that sinners in Gehenna are deprived of the love of God. Love is the offspring of knowledge of the truth which, as is commonly confessed, is given to all. The power of Love works in two ways: it torments sinners, even as happens here when a friend suffers from a friend; but it becomes a source of joy for those who have observed its duties. Thus I say that this is the torment of Gehenna: bitter regret. But love inebriates the souls of the sons of Heaven by its delectability.”
– St. Isaac the Syrian, The Ascetical Homilies, xlvii – xlviii
“On the level of rational argumentation, theological controversy proves unending. But there is one thing, so St Gregory [Palamas] believed, that is always decisive: the experience of the saints. The true aim of theology is not rational certainty through abstract arguments, but personal communion with God through prayer.”
– Met. Kallistos Ware
“So, being made of dust from the earth, and having received a breath of life which the word calls an intelligent soul and the image of God, he was placed in the garden to work and given a commandment to keep. How so? So that, as long as he did keep it and work, he would remain immortal and compete everlastingly with the angels, and together with them would praise God unceasingly and receive His illumination and see God intelligibly, and hear His divine voice. But in that same hour that he should transgress the commandment given him and eat of the tree from which God had commanded him not to eat, he would be given over to death and be deprived of the eyes of his soul. He would be stripped of his robe of divine glory; his ears would be stopped up, and he would fall from his way of life with the angels and be chased out of paradise. This indeed did happen to the transgressor, and he fell from his eternal and immortal life. For once Adam had transgressed God’s commandment and lent his ear for the deceitful devil to whisper in, and was persuaded by him on hearing his cunning words against the Master Who had made him, he tasted of the tree and, perceiving with his senses, he both saw and beheld with passion the nakedness of his body. He was justly deprived of all those good things. He became deaf. With ears become profane he could no longer listen to divine words in a manner which was spiritual and adequate to God, as such words resound only in those who are worthy. Neither could he see the divine glory any longer, in that he had voluntarily turned his nous away from it and had looked upon the fruit of the tree with passion, and had believed the serpent who said: ‘In that now that you eat of it, you will be as gods, knowing good and evil’ (Gen 3:5).”
– St. Symeon the New Theologian