A fisher of men

In the Synoptic Gospels Andrew and his brother Simon Peter, both fishermen, are called by Jesus – “I will make you fishers of men” – as He walks by the Sea of Galilee.

In St John, however, Andrew first appears with a companion (not Simon Peter) as a disciple of St John the Baptist, whom they hear exclaiming “Behold, the Son of God” as Jesus goes by. They follow Him.

“What seek ye?” Jesus asks. They go to His house, after which Andrew tells Simon Peter that they have found the Messiah.

Saltire crucifixion

Thenceforward Andrew is one of the four principal disciples. Subsequent traditions have him preaching in Scythia (Ukraine), modern Turkey and Greece. He was martyred in 60 AD at Patras in the Peloponnese by being bound to a diagonal cross, or saltire. In the 4th century his relics were transferred to Constantinople, where in 1204 they were seized by the Crusaders and taken to Amalfi.

St Andrew is a patron saint of Russia, and of Scotland, where the Pictish king Angus mac Fergus found his aid effective in battle against Athelstane, king of Northumbria, in 832.

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