The Apolytikion of St. Andrew the Apostle
As first of the Apostles to be called, O Andrew, Brother of him (Peter) who was foremost, Beseech the Master of all to grant the world peace and our souls great mercy.
The Life of Saint Andrew the Apostle
St. Andrew, known as the "First-Called Apostle," made a living as a fisherman before following Christ. St. Andrew chose this profession because of his great love for God and the beauty he found in His creation of the sea. St. Andrew was a follower of St. John the Baptist, and upon hearing him declare Christ, "The Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world," accepted Christ and became His first disciple.
Upon Christ’s glorious Ascension, St. Andrew and the other Apostles committed themselves to spreading the logos and sowing the seed of Christianity throughout the world. St. Andrew dedicated his teaching to Asia Minor, part of Greece, and an area along the Black Sea, which included the city now known as Constantinople. St. Andrew was blessed with a gift of eloquence that enabled him to convert thousands of people to Christianity in one day with his mere words. His love and passion for Jesus Christ was evident in the words he spoke, and his popularity grew greatly within each place he visited. However, not all were converted to Christianity by St. Andrew’s words alone, but by the miracles of healing which Christ performed through him. Moreover, among St. Andrew’s incredible accomplishments are the numerous parishes that he founded throughout Thrace, Macedonia, Pontos, Greece, Asia Minor, Byzantium, and Russia, where he is regarded as patron saint to this day.
While in the city of Patras, St. Andrew met and converted to Christianity a woman named Maximilla. Maximilla was the wife of the ruler Aigeates, who did not accept or condone Christianity. Out of anger, Aigeates sentenced St. Andrew to die by crucifixion. However, St. Andrew did not find himself worthy enough to die in the same manner as Christ, and requested that he be crucified upon an "X-shaped" cross. After enduring three days of torture on the cross, St. Andrew, the "First-called Apostle," finally gave up his spirit to the Lord. St. Andrew’s remains were taken to Constantinople, and in 1460 his skull was given to the Catholic Pope. However, as a Christian gesture, the skull of St. Andrew was returned to the people of Patras in September of 1964. Each year, the skull of St. Andrew and the cross, upon which he was crucified, are venerated by Ionian Village participants, as well as countless others, as they visit the Church of St. Andrew in Patras.