Antwerp's St Andrew's Church, a revelation.
Saint Andrew's identity card
|he was born a Jew, date of birth unknown; coming from the village of Bethsaida (‘house of fish’) at the shores of the lake of Gennesaret in Galilee (Matt 14:34; Jn 1:44), as did Peter, his brother.|
|Father:||Jona (Matt 16:17) or John (Jn 21:15)|
|Brother:||Simon (‘Peter’), also a disciple|
|Family:||according to a popular – though apocryphal – tradition: Jesus’ maternal cousin|
|Name:||Andrew, after the Greek andreia, meaning ‘masculinity’ and ‘bravery’|
|Known as:||Protokletos or First-Called because of the story of the Calling of the First Disciples (Jn 1:35-40)|
|Profession:||fisherman in Capernaum, where he and Peter owned a house together (Mk 1:21.29)|
|Calling:||disciple; two versions 1) Matt 4:18-20; Mk 1:16-18; and 2) Jn 1:35-40.|
|Importance:||in the apostles’ listings in Matt (10:2) and Lk (6:14), Andrew is named second, immediately after Peter. Yet he is considered to be the fourth important disciple only, after the three chosen ones – Peter, John and James the Greater – who were exclusive witnesses to several distinctive moments in Jesus’ life. As such, Andrew is mentioned fourth in the listings of apostles in Mk 3:18 and in Act 1:13. Once, Andrew is mentioned as the fourth disciple who has been chosen to listen to Jesus’ teaching about the end of time in Mk (13:3).|
|Life cycle:||after Jesus’ passing, Andrew proclaimed the gospel in Greece. According to (Orthodox) tradition, he was the first bishop – the founder, even – of the Christian community in Byzantium (the later city of Constantinople). As such, tradition underlines the parallel between Andrew and his brother Peter in Rome.|
|Death:||according to tradition, Andrew died a martyr’s death; he was crucified in Patras (Greece) in the year 66.|
|Feast Day:||30 November, the day on which Andrew’s death is commemorated according to tradition;|
|9 May, the translation or the movement of the saint’s relics to Amalfi in 1208.|
|Relics:||the saint’s body in Amalfi.
According to tradition, the Byzantine emperor Thomas Palaiologos donated the relic of Andrew’s head to pope Pius II in 1461. In honour of this event, Frans Duquesnoy created the famous extravert Baroque statue of St Andrew for the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in 1629-1633. In 1964, pope Paul VI donated the valuable relic to the Patriarch of Constantinople as a gesture of rapprochement. The head has had its resting place in Patras ever since.