Every year, on the 30th of November, the Orthodox Church celebrates and honors the sacred memory of the holy apostle Andrew, “the First-called”. Saint Andrew was from Bethsaida in Galilee, a small town on the shores of Lake Gennesaret. He was the son of Jonah and the brother of Simon, whom Jesus Christ later re-named Peter.
Andrew was first a disciple of John the Baptist and is called “the First-Called” because he was the first to be invited by Christ to the ranks of the apostles. Like his father and brother, he was a fisherman. When the holy Prophet, forerunner and Baptist John began to preach, Saint Andrew became his closest disciple. Declaring Christ to be the Lamb of God, Saint John the Baptist himself sent to Christ his own two disciples, the future apostles Andrew and John the Theologian. Saint Andrew heard John the Baptist pointing out Christ and saying: “Behold the Lamb of God”. He and another disciple approached Christ, Who turned to them and asked: ‘What do you want?’ Andrew said to him: ‘Teacher, where are you staying?’
A new church dedicated to Saint Andrew, who is considered the Protector of Romania, will be consecrated this Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa. The consecration ceremony will be officiated Nov. 30 by His Eminence Metropolitan Iosif of Western and Southern Europe. The event represents the crowning of the efforts of the Romanian community that started 6 years ago when the foundation stone of the church was laid in the suburb of Midrand.
The legend of Saint Andrew in Romania tells that today’s territory of Romania was Christianized by Saint Andrew in the 1st century AD. While these claims lack any historical and archeological evidence, the legend has been embraced as fact by both the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Romanian state, both during Ceaușescu’s Protochronism period and after 1989, when Saint Andrew was named the patron saint of Romania.
Happy Saint Andrew’s Day, 2019!