St. Andrew is the brother of Simon Peter, and a fisherman. He is known as the first Apostle. We also know he was a disciple of John the Baptist. Andrew went through life leading people to Jesus, both before and after the Crucifixion. He was known to be a missionary in Asia Minor and Greece, and possibly areas in modern Russia and Poland. St. Andrew was martyred on a x-shaped cross, he is said to have preached for two days from it.
Some peculiar marriage-related superstitions have attached themselves to Saint Andrew’s feast day.
- An old German tradition says that single women who wish to marry should ask for Saint Andrew’s help on the eve of his feast, then sleep naked that night; they will see their future husbands in their dreams.
- Another says that young women should note the location of barking dogs on Saint Andrew’s Eve: their future husbands will come from that direction.
- On the day after Andrew’s feast, young people float cups in a tub; if a boy’s and a girl’s cup drift together and are intercepted by a cup inscribed “priest”, it indicates marriage.
There are several explanations for why Andrew became the patron of Scotland.
- In 345, Emperor Constantine the Great decided to translate Andrew’s bones from Patras, Greece to Constantinople. Saint Regulus of Scotland was instructed by an angel to take many of these relics to the far northwest. He was eventually told to stop on the Fife coast of Scotland, where he founded the settlement of Saint Andrew.
- In the 7th century, Saint Wilfrid of York brought some of the saint’s relics with him after a pilgrimage to Rome, Italy. The Scots king, Angus MacFergus, installed them at Saint Andrew’s to enhance the prestige of the new diocese.
- When the Pictish King Angus faced a large invading army, he prayed for guidance. A white cloud in the form of a x-shaped cross floated across the blue sky above him. Angus won a decisive victory and decreed that Andrew would be the patron saint of his country.
- Following Robert Bruce’s victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, the Declaration of Arbroath officially named Saint Andrew the patron saint of Scotland. The Saltire became the national flag of Scotland in 1385.
Excerpts from Laudate
There is a novena to St Andrew that starts today and ends at Christmas. Take a moment to look it up online.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen