Saint Andrew the Apostle
Holiday date: 30/11
Andreas, a fisherman by profession and brother of the Apostle Peter, was from Bethsaida in Galilee and his father was called Jonah. Because he was called by the Lord first in the group of disciples, he was called the firstborn.
Andrew (along with John the evangelist) were in the beginning disciples of John the Forerunner. One day, in fact, when they were on the banks of the Jordan and the Precursor showed them Jesus and said to them “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, those two simple fishermen were so moved that without any hesitation or reservation they left immediately their teacher and followed Jesus.
The story of Andrew’s life up to the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension, was almost the same as that of the other disciples. After the formation of the first Church, Andreas preached in Bithynia, Black Sea (indeed the Apostle, he is the founder of the Church of Byzantium after he installed there the first bishop, the apostle Stachys (see October 31) and his successor is the Ecumenical Patriarch), Thrace, Macedonia and Epirus. Finally, he ended up in Achaia.
In Achaia, his teaching bore fruit and with his prayers he miraculously healed many sick people. Thus, the Christian truth had great conquests in the people of Patras. Even Maximilla, wife of the Achaean proconsul Aegeatos, after the Apostle healed her of the serious illness she had, believed in Christ. This event angered the archbishop and with the encouragement of pagan priests he arrested Andreas and crucified him in the shape of an X. Thus, the Apostle Andreas presented himself to God as “a probationary worker” (2 Timotheus, 2: 15). That is, a tried and perfect worker of the Gospel.
The Christians of Achaia deeply mourned his death. Their pain became even greater when the proconsul Aegeatis refused to hand over his holy relic to them for burial. But God saved things. On the same day that the saint died, Aegeatis went mad and killed himself. The Christians then with their bishop Stratoklis, first bishop of Patras, received the sept relic and buried it with great honors.
Later, when Constantius, who was the son of Constantine the Great, ascended the throne of Byzantium, part of the holy relic was transferred from the city of Patras to Constantinople and deposited in the temple of the holy Apostles “inside the Holy Table”. St. Cara of Protocletos seems to have remained in Patras.
But when the Turks were about to occupy the city in 1460 AD, then Thomas Palaiologos, brother of the last emperor Constantine Palaiologos and last Despot of Morea, took the precious heirloom and transported it to Italy. There, after being received by Pope Pius II, the precious relic was deposited in the church of Saint Peter in Rome.
In November 1847 AD a Russian Prince, Andreas Muraviev donated to the city of Patras a piece of the finger of the Saint’s hand. Muraviev had received the above holy Relic from Kallinikos, former Bishop of Moshonisi, who was then a monk on Mount Athos.
In the city of Patras, they were brought back and kept since September 26, 1964 AD. the honor Kara tou Agios and from January 19, 1980 AD. relics of the Cross, of his martyrdom. St. Cara of Protocletos, following the actions of the Archdiocese of Cyprus, was also transferred to Cyprus in 1967 AD. for a few days and was exposed to a reverent pilgrimage.
According to a Cypriot tradition, during one of his tours, Apostle Andreas also went to Cyprus. The ship that carried him to Antioch from Joppa, just before they passed the well-known cape of the apostle Andrew and the islands known by the name of Cleides, was forced to stop there in a small port, because the wind stopped. During these days of calm they also lacked water. One morning, when the master went out to the island and was looking for water, he took the apostle with him. Unfortunately no water anywhere. At some point, when they reached the middle of the two churches that exist today, the old one and the new one, which is built a little higher, the saint knelt down in front of a dry rock and prayed that God would send water. He longed for a miracle, so that those who were there would believe in Christ. Then he got up, sealed the rock with the sign of the Cross and the miracle happened. From the root of the rock immediately came out a lot of water, which runs to this day in a pit of the old church and from there it proceeds and comes out of a fountain near the sea. It is the well-known sacrament. The blessed water, which quenched the thirst of so many, but also so many others, whole myriads, who took it with faith cooled and comforted. And first of all the captain’s blind child.
This was also one of the faces of the ship that the father was carrying. He was born blind and grew up in constant darkness. It never saw the light of day. Trees, plants, animals, he struggled to get to know them by rummaging. That day, when the sailors returned with the pouches full of water and explained how they found it on the island, a light of sweet hope lit up in the heart of the unfortunate child. Could this water, he thought, which came out of the dry rock after the prayer of that strange fellow passenger, be able to give him the light he longed for? After he came out in a miraculous way, he could also offer miracles. With this faith and deep hope, the child also asked for some water. He was thirsty. He was burning with thirst. The apostle, who was there, hastened and gave the child a vessel full of the cool water. But the child preferred, instead of cooling his lips with water, to wash his face first. And oh the miracle! As soon as the cool water touched the child’s eyeballs, the child began to see!
And the apostle, whom they all looked at with admiration, began to speak to them and teach them the new religion. The end of the speech very fruitful. Those who heard him believed and were baptized. The beginning was made by the captain with his child, who was also named Andreas. And then all the other passengers and some fishermen who were there. They all believed in the Christ that our apostle preached to them and were baptized. Of course the miracle of the healing of the blind child was followed by more and more. In the meantime the wind began to blow and the ship prepared to continue its journey. The apostle, after calling to him all those who believed in Christ and were baptized, gave them his last advice and said goodbye.
Later, after years, the Great Monastery of the Apostle Andrew was built in the place where the Protokletos disciple walked and sanctified with his prayer, miracles and sweat, which over time had become a Cypriot place of pilgrimage. Every year thousands of pilgrims from all parts of Cyprus, Orthodox and Heterodox and even non-religious, gathered at the monastery to worship the miraculous icon of the apostle, to baptize their newborn children there and to offer their gifts, to express the thanks and their gratitude to the divine apostle. Pool of Siloam was his church for the sick. Most of the miracles were done there to those who went with true faith and contrition of soul.