30 November 2009

Happy Feast, Brother!

Today, of course, we celebrate the great Feast of St Andrew, the Protoclete, or first called of the Apostles. It's interesting to note in the Gospel that it is Simon Peter who is named first in Matthew's account, and yet we know from Tradition and St John's first letter, it was Andrew who led Peter to Christ: "We have found the Messiah!" I was wondering, then, if it is the role of the Successors to the Apostles (and at least one in twelve must be successor to Andrew) to lead the Pope to Christ from time to time? Perhaps a train of thought to go nowhere at this time, but I will leave it hanging.

When I was a child, I recall a wonderful tale told of how the bones of St Andrew were being transferred to Russia by boat. During their journey across the seas there was a great storm and the boat was wrecked, leaving the Martyrs bones to be washed ashore. Eventually they were found on the coast of Scotland, in Fife to be specific, before being then sent on their way to Russia where he was to be the Patron Saint. The place, of course, was St Andrew's and from this grew up the notion of the country being blessed by a visitation of the great Saint from which grew the ancient tradition that St Andrew was also the patron of Scotland. If this is a story you are familiar with, I'd love to know it's history. Isn't it funny that I should recall this from over thirty years ago! Nonetheless, my love of the Patron Saint of Scotland, from whence comes my catholicity, has always guided me. Please remember in your prayers my grandmother, without who's prayers I would never have been ordained a priest.

I've added two pictures of St Andrew, both by El Greco, simply because I think the first one, which is in Toledo, gives the Saint his due prominence on his Feast but I think it's the second, with St Francis, which is by far and away the better canvas. The second hangs in the Prado and I count it a wonderful blessing to have seen both during my year at Valladolid and can, therefore, give a personal opinion based on first hand evidence! Who says the Lord is not generous?

Update - I don't think I made it entirely clear, but for those who have asked, my Grandmother lived for many years in Fife and I recall many, many happy memories of trips to Scotland.


  1. Thanks for this post. Every year since I can't remember when, I have started a novena on St Andrew's Day which goes right through to Christmas. I knew the saint was patron of Scotland but always wondered why. Now you have enlightened me and I thank you. I enjoy your blog so keep at it. God b;les you.

  2. Hello
    It's me again. I actually meant God 'bless' you and not God 'b;les' you. I am sure God knew what I meant - even if you didn't!

  3. Thanks, breadgirl, for your words and, indeed, for your correction. Lots of prayers between now and Christmas - well done! It's great to be praying.



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