Saint Andrew

Welcome to this first in a series of posts about Saints – today we are looking at the Patron Saint of Scotland – Saint Andrew, shown above on the right panel in stained glass at the Church of St Mary, Hillborough, Kent.

We don’t know much about Andrew – just that he was born in Galilee, now Lebanon and like his brother Simon Peter, he was a fisherman. Andrew, along with Peter, James and John were part of the circle of Jesus’ 12 apostles. Patras in Greece claims to be the place where he was martyred and crucified on a cross. St Andrew is said to have travelled great distances in order to spread the word, and it may be this which links him with Scotland. One story says he actually went to Scotland and built a church in Fife- now the town of St Andrews and known today as the ‘Home of Golf’., St Andrews is said to have the oldest golf course in the world as well as Scotland’s oldest University! The church became a centre for evangelism and pilgrims came from all over Britain to pray there. Another ancient legend says that after the death of Andrew, sometime in the 4th century, several of his relics were brought to Fife by Rule, a native of Patras, in Greece. This may explain why Andrew is now the Patron Saint of Scotland. Churches were dedicated to him from early times throughout Italy and France as well as in Anglo-Saxon England, where Hexham and Rochester were the earliest of 637 medieval dedications. Above you can see a picture of the Pulpitum screen in Rochester Cathedral, Kent showing a stone carving of St Andrew on the left hand side. St Andrew died on 30th November, AD 60 in Patras. The story claims he believed himself unworthy of being crucified on a cross, so instead he met his end on a ‘saltire’, or X-shaped cross (St Andrew’s cross), which later became his symbol. His cross, in white on a blue background, remains the proud symbol of Scotland today and forms a central component of the Flag of the Union of Great Britain.

There are Saint Andrew’s Societies all over the world, which are independent organisations, who organise social events, which celebrate, promote and preserve Scottish Heritage. Many of these are in the USA and the recent ‘Outlander’ books written by Diana Gabaldon and then televised, have done much to promote the links between Scotland and America.

Thanks to Phillip Halling and Penny Mayes for their images from Geograph UK.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.