30th November – The Feast-Day of the Holy Apostle ANDREW, the First-called of the Twelve

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,

CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.

On the 30th of November,
the Holy Church commemorates
the holy Apostle ANDREW
the First-called of the Twelve.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of the holy Apostle Andrew
Fourth Tone

As the first-called of the Apostles, and brother of their leader, O
Andrew, entreat the Master of all that peace be granted unto the
world and great mercy to our souls.

Kontakion Hymn. Second Tone

Let us acclaim the namesake of courage, that herald of things divine,
the first-called of the Savior’s disciples, and the kinsman of Peter,
for as he formerly cried out to him, so doth he now to us: Come,
we have found the Desired One.

ANDREW, the First-called Apostle of Christ, was the son of a Jew named Jonah and the brother of the holy preeminent Apostle Peter. He was a native of the Galilaean town of Bethsaida. Disdaining the vanity of this world and preferring virginity to matrimony, he declined to enter into wedlock; and, hearing that the holy Forerunner John the Baptist was preaching repentance by the river Jordan, he left everything, went to him, and became his disciple. Andrew beheld the holy Forerunner while he was pointing to Jesus as He passed by and saying, "Behold, the Lamb of God" (John 1:36). Saint Andrew, together, with another disciple of the Forerunner (whom many consider to have been the Evangelist John), left the Forerunner and followed after Christ. He sought out his brother Simon Peter and said to him, "We have found the Messiah (which is, being interpreted, The Christ (John 1:41), and brought him to Jesus. Afterward, when he was fishing with Peter off the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus called to them, saying, "Come after Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). Andrew, immediately leaving his nets when he heard the Lord’s summons, followed after Christ with his brother Peter (Matthew 4:20). Andrew is known as the First-called because he became a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ before any of the other disciples.

After the Lord’s voluntary Passion and His Resurrection, the holy Andrew, with the rest of the holy Apostles, received the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, there appeared to the disciples, tongues, as if of fire, being distributed upon each one of them (Acts 2:3). When the countries were divided among them, it fell to him by lot to spread the Gospel in Bithynia, the Propontis, Chalcedon, Byzantium, Thrace, and Macedonia, all the way to the Black Sea, and the River Danube, as well as in Thessaly, Hellas, Achaia, Amisos, Trebizond, Herakleia, and Amastris. Saint Andrew passed through these lands and cities, preaching the Christian Faith. In each city he had to endure much affliction and pain; but, fortified by the Omnipotent help of God, he joyfully bore all such tribulations for Christ’s sake.

The holy Apostle Andrew undertook Apostolic labors and endured pangs in the spreading of the Gospel of Christ. He passed on through Pontos, the seaboard of the Black Sea, Scythia, and the Chersonese. By God’s Providence, he reached the River Dnieper in the land of Russia, and halting upon the shore beneath the hills of Kiev, he lay down to rest. When he arose from sleep in the morning, he said to his disciples who has accompanied him, "BELIEVE ME ON THESE HILLS THE GRACE OF GOD WILL SHINE FORTH. THERE WILL BE A GREAT CITY HERE, AND THE LORD WILL RAISE MANY CHURCHES IN THIS PLACE AND ENLIGHTEN ALL OF THE RUSSIAN LAND WITH HOLY BAPTISM." And ascending the hills, the Saint BLESSED THEM AND SET UP A CROSS, PROPHESYING THAT THE PEOPLE WHO DWELT THERE WOULD RECEIVE THE FAITH FROM THE APOSTOLIC SEE HE HAD ESTABLISHED IN BYZANTIUM.

After passing through many lands, he reached the Peloponnesos, and, entering the Achaian city of Patras, he lodged with a certain respected man by the name of Sosios. He raised him up from his bed of sickness, and afterward, he converted the whole city of Patras to Christ. While there, Maximilla, the wife of the Proconsul Aegeates, fell prey to a grievous affliction of the eyes. One of his servants remembered the Apostle for he himself had received healing at his hands earlier. Thus, he hastened and besought the Apotle’s help for his master’s wife. The Saint then came and placed his hand upon her, and her health was restored and she rose up from her bed. Aegeates beheld this miracle, he went and brought forth a great sun of money and laid it at the feet of the Saint. The holy Apostle, however, refused the money and said to Aegeates "Our Teacher has said, ‘Freely ye received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). While there the holy Apostle Andrew performed numerous miracles.

Shortly, thereafter, the aforementionled Proconsul Aegeates wwnt to Rome to appear before Caesar to submit a report of his administration and to receive further orders. Upon his return from Rome, however, Maximilla wished to avoid all association with unconverted husband, but it was impossible for her to keep secret forever. Certain eunuchs and other approached him and said, "From the day of thy departure to Rome until this present moment, she has not taken her regular meals, but has kept a strict fast. Furthermore, she utters blasphemies against our dieties, preferring to worship the Christ preached by the stranger, Andrew. When Aegeates hear this, he was perplexed and astonished. He ordered his guard to arrest the Saint, while he considered what manner of death he should inflict upon him.

Aegeates commanded that the Saint be stretched out and beaten. Then he was brought before the judge who said to him, ‘Listen to me, O Andrew, and shed not thy blood in vain, for if thou wilt not obey me, I will crucify thee on the cross.’ To this the holy Andrew answered, ‘I am a slave of the Cross of Christ; and I desire death on a cross…My suffering shall end in a day, or two days at best; but thy sufferings ahall not come to an end, even after a thousand years. Therefore, do not increase thy torments; kindle not for thyself everlasting fire.

Enraged, Aegeates ordered that the holy Andrew be crucified on a cross, his hands and feet bound. He, at first, did not wish him affixed by nails, lest he should die in but a short time; for he thought that by hanging him bound, he might subject hm to greater tortures. When the Saint was brought to the placeo of crucifixion, the people assembled crying out, ‘Why are they leading him to crucifixion?" When he reached the place where he was to be crucified, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Rejoice, O cross sanctified by the flesh of Christ and adorned by His members as with pearls! …Accept me with glandness, for I am a disciple of Him Who was lifted up on thee! …Take me from among men and give me to my Teacher, that, through thee, He Who redemeed me through thee may receive me."

Thus saying, he removed his clothing and gave it to the torturers. They lifted him up on the cross, binding his hands and feet with cords, and thus they crucified him head-downward and suspended him… Around him stood a multitude of the people who cried out, ‘Unjustly does this holy man suffer thus!’ But Saint Andrew strengthened those who believed in Christ and exhorted them to endure transitory sufferings, teaching that no torment can compare with the reward earned by it."

Aegeates fearing the people, went straightway with them to take Saint Andrew down from the cross. But the holy Andrew said, "I do not wish to be taken down drom the cross alive, for I already see my King, I already worship Him; I already stand before Him. Yet I suffer for thee, because the everlasting perdition prepared for thee awaits thee. Take care of thyself while thou mayest, lest thou shouldest desire to begin when thou art no longer able to do so.’

When the servants wnt to unfasten him from the cross, they were unable to touch him. Indeed, a great many other people, one after another, tried to untie him, but were unable, because their hands became numb. Saint Andrew prays, ‘…O Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit in peace, for the time has come for me to go to Thee and look upon Thee Whom I have so aredently desired! Receive me, O Good Teacher, and do not permit me to be taken down over-soon from the cross, before Thou receivest my spirit!’

When he said this, a light like lightning from heaven illumined in the sight of all, and shined round about him, so that the eye of corrupt man was unable to look upon him. This heavenly light shined round him for the space of half an hour, and when the light departed, the holy Apostle surrendered his spirit and departed, amid brillilant Light, to stand before the Lord.

This took place on teh last day of the month of November, in the city of Patras, in Achaia, Greece, where ever since, through the prayers of the holy Apostle, many benefactions arae bestowed upon the people. The fear of God was upon all, and there was no one who did not believe in our God and Savior, Who desires TO SAVE ALL MEN AND LEAD THEM TO A KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, TO WHOM BE GLORY FOR EVER. AMEN.

When many years had passed, the holy relics of the holy Apostle Andrew were translated by the Martyr Artemios to Constantinople, commemorated by the holy Church on the 20th of October, at teh command of the holy Emperor Constantine the Great, and enshrined with those of the holy Evangelist Luke and Saint Timothy, the Disciple of the holy Apostle Paul, in the most splendid Church of the Apostles, within the sacred table of oblation.

Through the prayers of Thine Apostle, O Christ God, do Thou establish Thy faithful servants in Orthodoxy, and save us all. Amen. [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)

_____________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +



With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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