Disciple of Jesus Christ, Roman Catholic Saint. One of the original 12 disciples of Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel of Matthew he was the brother of Simon Peter, also one of the original disciples. He was born sometime in the early 1st century in the village of Bethsaida, located in the region of Judea on the Sea of Galilee, in present-day Israel. He was a fisherman by trade and was a follower of John the Baptist, according to the Gospel of John, but when Jesus passed through his village during his 3-year ministry, he personally called him to become one of his disciples. At the beginning of Jesus' public life, he and Simon Peter were said to have occupied the same house at Capernaum. After the death and ascension of Jesus, he preached in Asia Minor and Scythia, along the Black Sea and the Dnieper river as far as Kiev, in present-day Russia and from there he traveled to Novgorod. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium (Constantinople) in 38 AD. He is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patra (Patras), in Achaea, a part of West Greece, on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. The exact date of his death is unknown but is established by tradition as November 30, 60 AD. Early texts, such as the Acts of Andrew known to Gregory of Tours, describe him as bound, not nailed, to a Latin cross of the kind on which Jesus is said to have been crucified. A tradition developed that had had been crucified at his request on an X-shaped cross, now commonly known as a "Saint Andrew's Cross," as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus had been. His remains and other relics were kept at Patras until around 357 when they were moved to Constantinople by the order of Roman Emperor Constantius II and placed in the Church of the Holy Apostles. Following the sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the 4th Crusade, his relics that remained there were taken to Amalfi, Italy in 1208. In September 1964 Pope Paul VI, as a gesture of goodwill toward the Greek Orthodox Church, ordered that all of the relics of St. Andrew that were in Vatican City, which consisted of one of the small fingers, part of the top of the skull, be sent back to Patras, and they were enshrined in the Cathedral of St. Andrew. The cross of St. Andrew was taken from Greece during the Crusades by the Duke of Burgundy and was kept in the church of St. Victor in Marseilles until it returned to Patras in January 1980. He is the patron saint of several countries and cities including Barbados, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Ukraine, Amalfi in Italy, Esgueira in Portugal, Luqa in Malta, Paranaque in the Philippines, and Patras in Greece. His feast day is observed on November 30th in both the Eastern and Western churches.
Bio by: William Bjornstad