ANDREW THE FIRST CALLED
The holy Apostle Andrew was the first called by Christ, being the son of Jonah and brother of Peter the Apostle, whom he had brought to the Messiah. Andrew was baptized by the John the Baptist and Forerunner and then became his disciple; it was he who introduced Andrew to Christ as Scripture records. Jesus came to Andrew and Peter as they were preparing to go fishing, He said: “Follow me.” They dropped their nets and everything else and followed him. Then these two brothers, after the Resurrection began untiringly to preach and teach. They worked wonders, and both of them, after completing their duty to Christ, left this world and entered the kingdom of heaven through crucifixion.
After Christ had accomplished His work, enduring His Crucifixion and Resurrection, followed by His triumphant Ascension, his promise from on high was fulfilled. For the day of Pentecost arrived and they all received the gift of the Comforter.
This occurred when the Holy Spirit descended with a mighty noise in the form of cloven tongues of flame setting upon each one present., They were then filled with Holy Spirit and divine grace from God, and faithfully following their Master, they started their assigned sacred duty to go to all the earth, preaching the everlasting Gospel.
They endured many hazards, from the weather, from unbelievers and idolaters. They were persecuted, hungered, were naked and lacking shelter, but their hearts were filled with divine grace and joy.
The Apostles drew lots to formulate important decisions and for the assignment of territories for each of the Apostles. The territories given to Andrew were Bithynia, the Propontos, Chalcedon, Byzantium, Thrace, and Macedonia, all the way to Amisos, Trebizond, Heraklia, and Amistris. Andrew filled with divine energy, zeal and love, continuously preached the Gospel of love and salvation wherever he went, which caused him to suffer much tribulation and grief.
Andrew then went to Amisos on the Black Sea, about seventy miles from Amisos. He entered the synagogue, and with divine wisdom and love, preached the Gospel, reminding them of the many prophets, convincing them that Jesus Christ the Savior, is for certain the long awaited Messiah, which Moses and all the Prophets predicted. He enlightened them as to how Christ came to save man, and what He accomplished by His death on the Cross and His Resurrection. He was so effective and graceful that all the Jews accepted his words and believed in Christ, and with gladness embraced the teaching of the Gospel, then being well prepared by Andrew they were all baptized.
Andrew enthusiastically healed diseases and cast out demons wherever he preached. When he came to Nicaea, there were some Greeks who were resisting him. Andrew cast out demons from many of them, then by his words and the wonders he performed, they believed and were all baptized.
He went to Neocastar where his pure words reached the hearts of many in the region, bringing the populace to the faith and holy baptism. He traveled to Sinope where he met his brother, Peter the Apostle, and the Apostle Matthias. As soon as Matthias begin to preach, he was quickly arrested and imprisoned. But when Andrew went to the prison, by his prayers, the bonds immediately fell from Matthias and the gates swung open and the Apostle walked out to freedom. But the people of the city were beastly and became extremely angered seeing the loss of the security in their prison. They seized Andrew and showing no mercy, they severely beat him almost to death, they then dragged him through the mud and dirt and upon reaching the outskirts of the city they cast him into a dunghill, being certain that he would soon die after what they inflicted on him. Andrew endured everything they did to him with great patience and forbearance. In his pain and suffering, the Lord Jesus appeared before him, filling him with courage as He urged him to rejoice and not hold back but continuously increase his struggle.
Upon arising on the following day the Saint found himself, completely healed and in perfect health, and all signs of his wounds were gone. His countenance brightly radiated the gladness and great joy in his heart, for Christ dwelled in him with the Father and the Spirit. When the people beheld Andrew, whom they believed would be dead, upon seeing him adorned with perfect health and a shining countenance, they were filled with astonishment. Looking at him now,1 completely whole, after all the evils they inflicted on him, now they were even more assured that this had to be a miracle from Jesus Christ. Falling down at Andrew’s feet, they begged for his forgiveness. Andrew not only forgave them but taught them about Jesus Christ and the kingdom of heaven, and that they must be baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and when they were prepared, Andrew carried out their baptisms.
Among them was a woman whose son had been slain by an enemy; which caused her much grief, but she came to Andrew with faith, confessing that she believed in Christ with all her heart. Andrew felt such pity for the poor woman, that he raised her child from the dead, thus increasing her faith and strengthening her. Witnessing this, caused great amazement among the people. In a short time most of the people in the area believed in Christ and were baptized, and the Church increased wherever Andrew preached.
Andrew went to Jerusalem and there he saw other Apostles. He joined them in their discussion wherein the Holy Spirit revealed to them that circumcision was unnecessary for those who became Christians. He went through Pontos and Scythia, and when he reached the area of the Dnieper River, near the city of Kiev, he prophesied to those with him, the future of Orthodox Christianity in the Ukraine and Russia, and there he set up a Cross. Then he went to Rome, and after Rome to Thrace in Greece. He established a Church there, going about preaching, teaching, and ordaining bishops, always firmly establishing the people in knowledge of the God whom they learned to worship in spirit and truth. The God-inspired Apostle preached and lived the holy faith, teaching by his words and example all the truths which came down from heaven. Another time, the Saint went to Patras in the Peloponnesos, where he stayed with an important citizen named Sosios, who was very ill. Upon Andrew’s arrival, he quickly raised him from his bed of illness and bestowed upon him perfect health. When this circulated among the population, it brought the larger part of the city to belief and faith in Christ and filled with piety, joy and jubilation they were baptized.
Aegeates was the proconsul who ruled in the Patras, when Andrew arrived, he was filled with much despair due to the tragedy of his wife Maximilla , who was dangerously ill with a disease of her eyes that debilitated her, and was now was becoming a threat to her life. All the physicians who treated her were of no help or relief, and great sums of money were spent to no avail, and she was deteriorating and approaching death, prayers to their gods accomplished nothing. They all despaired, and her husband, Aegeates was contemplating suicide. Then a member of his household told them about Andrew the Apostle, and how he was a doctor who could cure every affliction and disease. They went and sought the Saint to come and help them, and as soon as he arrived he immediately restored Maximilla to health. Aegates offered Andrew much money which he refused, telling him that Jesus says: “freely you have received freely give.”
Passing on into the city he cured a paralytic who had lost the use of his limbs. Andrew’s cures spread the good news of the Gospel everywhere, causing many to flock to him for healing, some were blind, some suffered from leprosy, and others came to him with various sicknesses and disease. All these events aroused their gratitude which was soon followed by belief and faith which poured into the hearts of the multitude. Andrew diligently taught them about blessed Jesus Christ and His wonderful work of salvation and His commandments to us. Andrew fulfilled one of His great commandments by preaching and teaching everywhere, and now was fulfilling another great commandments by baptizing them in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit.
Traveling further, he came upon a colony of lepers outside the city, beyond their hopes, he filled them with great joy as he cleansed them and cured them all, freeing them from this calamity. One of the former lepers after baptism was named Job, who was so enthusiastic that he stayed and traveled with Andrew, loudly proclaiming to all to come to faith in Christ. So effective was Andrew’s preaching and teaching, accompanied by his miracle working powers, that many in the city of Patras came to knowledge of the heavenly truths. Through the Saint, they believed in Jesus Christ, the living Truth who came down from heaven.
Many laid great sums of money at his feet which he refused, but told them how to use it, by giving alms to beggars and the impoverished. Wherever Andrew went, everyone rushed to hear his beautiful preaching about Christ, the Trinity and everlasting life. Temples of idols were torn down by the new Christians. They eventually built a very beautiful church, which stood majestically among other buildings. They gathered therein frequently giving all their attention to the Saint’s teaching about Christ, His holy Mother and the Saints and Martyrs.
The Proconsul Aegeates had to make a trip to Rome to give his report before Caesar, and during this time, his brother Stratocles, who was a wise man, went to the city of Patras as administer, accompanied by a devout servant whom he loved like a brother. Demons attacked his servant causing a terrible epileptic seizure. Stratocles was beside himself in grief and distress, but there was no way he could help nor could any physician offer relief. The Aegeates wife, Maximilla who had been rescued from near death and cured by Andrew, told Stratocles about this divine assisted doctor who had cured her and restoring her to perfect health. She told him how thousands of sacrifices to the gods and many visits of physicians of renown were unable to help her, and only holy Andrew had completely cured her.
Stratocles called for Andrew, and as soon as the Saint entered his house, the demons departed from the servant, and he was immediately restored to perfect health. Belief and faith filled the hearts of Stratocles and Maximilla whom Andrew then baptized them into Christ, as they glorified the goodness of God. They listened attentively to everything that Andrew taught them about the Faith.
When the Proconsul Aegeates returned, certain servants reported to him about his wife’s fasting and her disdain for their many gods. He angrily ordered Andrew to be arrested and imprisoned, thinking as to what type of death he would inflict on him. Aegeates soul was then overcome by the Devil, and in fierce anger he ordered the Saint to be crucified, which was immediately carried out. The crucifixion of such a good and just man was denounced by the populace, who heard Andrew and loved him as he continued to sweetly preach the glorious words of the Gospel, even now while hanging on the cross having been crucified upside down in the form of an X.
Multitudes of people went and stormed the home of Aegeates demonstrating against his wicked action against Andrew, demanding that he take him down from the cross. Due to his fear of the people, Aegeates then decided to take Andrew down from the Cross. When the Proconsul approached, Andrew told him that he did not want to be taken down from the cross, but rather that he should believe and accept Christ and his teaching. Disregarding Andrew’s pleas and teaching, he ordered that the Saint be untied and released, but when his servants tried to do this, their hands became numb and useless.
Then Andrew prayed ardently pleading with Christ, he begged Him not to allow them take him down from the Cross. As he concluded his prayer, a divine light shown down from heaven and illuminated the Saint before them all. It was similar to lightning and surrounded him, lasting for a half hour, then as the light vanished, Saint Andrew gave up his spirit as his soul flew into the arms of Christ.
After the holy martyrdom of Andrew, the wicked Aegeates was attacked by a demon who so severely tormented him that he died without repentance bringing his wickedness and sins to accompany him into eternal torment. Andrew’s martyrdom took place on November 30. We glorify him and we supremely glorify Christ to whom Andrew dedicated every breath of his entire life. Our Lord Christ bestows His grace upon all who remember holy Apostle Andrew who his fervent faith and numberless deeds will be crowned with many crowns as a greatly beloved servant. Let us present day Orthodox Christians, not only praise the Holy Apostle and Martyr Andrew, but let us beseech him to intercede with the Lord , that we may acquire some of his great love and zeal for Jesus Christ our Savior and God, and help our holy Orthodox Church to increase and fill the earth.
Apolitykion to St. Andrew the First-called
As the first of the Apostles to be called
O Andrew, brother of him who is foremost
Beseech now the Master of all
To grant peace to the world
And to our souls great mercy.