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Saint Andrew


(St. Andrew)

c.5 - c.50

Statue of St Andrew at St. Andrews Botanic Garden
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

Statue of St Andrew at St. Andrews Botanic Garden

Fisherman and disciple of Jesus Christ. Andrew was the elder brother of Simon Peter (Saint Peter). Although having no connection with the country while alive, St. Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland and St. Andrew's Day is celebrated by Scots around the world on the 30th November.

St. Andrew is said to have been responsible for spreading the tenets of the Christian religion through Asia Minor and Greece. Tradition suggests that St. Andrew was crucified by the Romans in Patras (Greece). The diagonal shape of this cross appears on the Scottish Flag or Saltire.

Legend suggests that a Greek Monk (although others describe him as an Irish assistant of St. Columba) called St. Rule (or St. Regulus) rescued some of St. Andrew's remains from Emperor Constantine. These relics included a tooth, an arm bone, a kneecap and some fingers. He took them to the "ends of the earth" for safe-keeping. This turned out to be Scotland, where St. Rule was possibly ship-wrecked at St. Andrews, although it may have been that the remains were brought there later by Acca, the Bishop of Hexham. The relics were placed in a specially constructed chapel. This chapel was replaced by the Cathedral of St. Andrews in 1160, and St. Andrews became the religious capital of Scotland and a great centre for Medieval pilgrims who came to view the relics. The relics no longer exist, possibly destroyed during the Reformation, where Knox, Wishart and others encouraged the destruction of the "idolatry of Catholicism".

The larger part of St. Andrew's remains were stolen from Constantinople in 1210 and are now to be found in Amalfi (Italy). In 1879, the Archbishop of Amalfi sent a piece of the Saint's shoulder blade to the re-established Roman Catholic community in Scotland. During his visit in 1969, Pope Paul VI gave a further relic of St. Andrew to Scotland with the words "St. Peter gives you his brother". Both are now displayed in a reliquary in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.


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