The history of the holy apostle Andrew the First-Called - Neck Icons, Images

The memory of the saint is celebrated on June 30 and November 30 according to the old style. The Apostle Andrew was from Galilee. This northern part of the Holy Land was fertile and picturesque, and its inhabitants - good nature and hospitality. The Galileans easily got along with the Greeks, many of them inhabiting their country, many spoke Greek and even wore Greek names. The name Andrew - Greek, and in translation means "courageous". When John the Baptist began to preach on the banks of the Jordan, Andrew, along with John Zavedeev, who was with him from the same city of Bethsaida, followed the prophet, hoping in his teaching to find an answer to his spiritual questions. Many began to think that maybe John the Baptist was the expected Messiah, but he explained to people that he was not the Messiah, but was sent only to prepare His way. At that time, the Lord Jesus Christ came to John the Baptist to the Jordan for baptism, and he, pointing to the Lord, said to his disciples: "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes upon himself the sins of the world." Hearing this, Andrew and John followed Jesus. The Lord saw them and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi (Teacher), where do You live?" - "Go and see," Jesus answered, and from that time on they became His disciples. On the same day, the apostle Andrew went to his brother Simon Peter and said to him: "We found the Messiah." So Peter joined the disciples of Christ.
However, the apostles did not immediately fully devote themselves to the apostolic rank. From the Gospel we know that the brothers Andrew and Simon Peter and the brothers John and Jacob had to return to their families for a while and to do their usual work - fishing. A few months later, passing the Lake of Galilee and seeing them catching fish, the Lord said: "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." Then they left their boats and nets and from that day on they became the eternal disciples of Christ.

Andrew, previously other apostles who followed the Lord, received the name of the First-Called. He was with Christ throughout the entire period of His public ministry. After the Resurrection of the Savior, the Apostle Andrew, together with other disciples, received meetings with Him and attended the Mount of Olives, when the Lord, having blessed them, ascended to Heaven. After the descent of the Holy Spirit, the apostles cast lots for who should go to which country to preach the gospel. St. Andrew got the countries lying along the Black Sea coast, the northern part of the Balkan Peninsula and Scythia, that is, the Land on which Russia later formed.

According to legend, the Apostle Andrew preached on the Tauride peninsula, then along the Dnieper climbed to the north and reached the place where Kiev later emerged. "Believe me," said the apostle to his disciples, "that the grace of God will shine on the mountains: the great city will be here, the Lord will enlighten this land with holy baptism and will erect here many churches." Then the apostle Andrew blessed the Kiev mountains and hoisted a cross on one of them, foretelling the acceptance of faith by the future inhabitants of Rus.

After returning to Greece, the apostle Andrew stopped in Patros (Patra), located near the Corinthian Gulf. Here, through the laying on of hands, he healed many people from illnesses, including the noble Maximil, who from all heart believed in Christ and became a disciple of the apostle. Since many of the inhabitants of Patra believed in Christ, the local ruler Egeat was kindled by hatred against the apostle Andrew and sentenced him to a crucifixion. The apostle, not in the least afraid of the verdict, in his inspired sermon revealed to the gathered spiritual strength and significance of the Savior's cross sufferings. The ruler of Ereate did not believe the sermon of the apostle, calling his teaching madness. Then he ordered the crucifixion of the apostle so that he suffered longer. St. Andrew was tied to a cross like the letter X, without hammering nails into his hands and feet, so as not to cause an imminent death.

The unjust verdict of Egeat caused outrage among the people, nevertheless this verdict remained in force. Hanging on the cross, the apostle Andrew prayed ceaselessly. Before the separation of his soul from the body, the heavenly light shone on the cross of Andrew, and in his glittering the apostle departed into the eternal Kingdom of God. The martyr's death of the Apostle Andrew the First-Called came about 62 years after the birth of Christ. The Russian Church, having accepted the faith from Byzantium, whose bishops lead a succession from the Apostle Andrew, also considers himself to be his successor. That is why the memory of St. Andrew the First-Called was so solemnly revered in prerevolutionary Russia. Emperor Peter I established the first and highest order in honor of the Apostle Andrew, which was given as a reward to the dignitaries of the state. From Peter's times the Russian fleet made its flag St. Andrew's flag, on a white background the blue cross of the X form, under the canopy of which the Russians won many victories.