Monday, November 29, 2010
St. Andrew's Day is November 30th.
Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland. Scots around the world celebrate St. Andrew's Day on Nov. 30th. The flag of Scotland is the Cross of St. Andrew. It is widely displayed as a symbol of national identity.
Not much is known about the Patron Saint. It is believed that he and his brother, Simon Peter or Saint Peter, were fisherman in Galilee, which is now a part of Israel. They both became apostles of Jesus Christ.
Word has it that St. Andrew may have been responsible for the spreading on tenets of the Christian religion through Asia Minor and Greece. Through tradition we learn that St. Andrew was put to death by the Romans in Patras in southern Greece by being pinned to a cross. The diagonal shape of the cross is reflected on the Scottish flag.
There have been two stories which depict how St. Andrew became affiliated to Scotland. The first begins that St. Andrew was entombed after his death. 300 years later, his bones were moved by Emperor Constantine to his new capitol in Constantinople. (This is now Istambul in Turkey.) Then a Greek Monk called St. Rule or St. Regulus, was warned in a dream by an angel that St. Andrew's remains were to be moved to the ends of the earth for safe keeping. St. Rule removed a tooth, an arm bone, a knee cap, and some fingers from his tomb. Scotland was where St. Rule had become shipwrecked and it was believed to be as far away as one could get. St. Rule then came ashore near a Pictish settlement on the east coast of Scotland. This town became known as St. Andrew.
The other story is that Acca, bishop of Hexham, who was a collector of relics, brought the relics of St. Andrew to the town of St. Andrew in 733. There was a religious centre in the town at the time. It was either founded by St. Rule in the 6th century or by a Pictish King, Ungus, who reigned from 731-761.
Either of these stories could be true, but the fact remains that the relics were placed in a specially constructed chapel. The chapel was replaced by the Cathedral of St. Andrews in 1160. St. Andrews then became the religious capitol of Scotland and a great centre for the Medieval pilgrims who came to view the relics.
There is little evidence of truth to the St. Rule story, though the name exists still today in Scotland. There is St. Rule Tower which remains amongst the ruins of St. Andrew's Cathedral.