Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Today on the show, we commemorate St. Andrew on his feast day.

*** This is a rough transcript of today’s show ***


It is the 30th of November 2022. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at; I’m Dan van Voorhis.


Happy St. Andrews day! This, the 30th of November is the first feast day for a disciple of Jesus in the new year, which begins with Advent- and appropriate it is for St. Andrew, who, according to the Gospel of John, was the first disciple called- in the Greek church he bears the name “protokletos” which means “first called.”

We know he is the brother of Peter and thus a son of Jonah. He was present at the feeding of the 5000 and at the Olivet discourse recorded in Matthew 24, the last supper and crucifixion.

Being Jewish (he was a disciple of John the Baptist) but His name, Andrew or in Greek “Andreas” gives us a picture of just how Hellenized Judea had become.

As is common for the disciples there is a good deal of apocryphal writings about him- and as the first called and brother of Peter it makes sense that he would be afforded a good bit of notoriety. We have the Acts of Andrew, the Acts of Andrew and Matthias and the Acts of Peter and Andrew.

These are pretty standard works for the 2nd to 4th century- comprised largely of miraculous stories of Andrew healing and preaching, calming the seas, and protecting people from wild animals. One story has him calming fierce wolves, and he has become associated with the animal- for instance, In Romania, it is said that on St. Andrews night, wolves can eat whatever they wish- and they can talk, but if you hear one talking it means you’re going to die. St. Andrews day and eve have a number of traditional superstitions- such as, on this night, single women should put a branch of sweet basil or 41 wheat grains under their pillow- if someone takes those in their dreams, they will get married. He is said to have preached up around the Black Sea and into modern Romania and Ukraine, where he is especially revered today.

St. Andrew is said to have been bound to a cross in 60 AD, but as Peter is said to have been placed upside down to not imitate Jesus, so too Andrew was placed on a cross and turned into an X. This is the Saltire that makes up the flag of Scotland.

So, how did he become so associated with Scotland and give his name to my alma mater, the University of St. Andrews?

The most common story is told about a man named Regulus, or St. Rule- an Irish or possible Greek monk who was told in a dream that the remains of Andrew would be stolen from their resting place in Constantinople. Thus, Regulus took a “tooth, an arm bone, a kneecap, and some fingers” from the disciple and took them as far away as possible. It is said the ship ran aground off the East Coast of Scotland, where a special chapel was built. Today all that remains of that chapel is in the ruins of the Cathedral at St. Andrews- it was for centuries the second most popular site for European pilgrimage, just behind St. James of Compostela.

It may have been in 733 when the Bishop of Hexam, known for his collection of relics, brought them to St. Andrews, where they were given to Oengus, son of Fergus and considered to be the first king of the Pictish settlement that would become Scotland.

The town and university named for him would be the center of the Catholic Church in Scotland up into the 16th century and then the center of the Scottish Reformation. Due to this, whatever remains were there were destroyed by zealous reformers.

Other remains that we do know were in Constantinople were stolen in the 13th century by French Crusaders and then recovered and taken to Amalfi in Southern Italy. In 1969 Pope Paul VI brought some of the remains to Scotland, and they are currently in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Edinburgh.

Have a sausage roll, pound the orange soda called Irn Bru, and don’t watch Braveheart in honor of our Scottish pals and their patron saint on his day- St. Andrews Day, the 30th of November.


The last word for today comes from the daily lectionary- from Isaiah 54:

“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
    Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
    and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

For your Maker is your husband—
    the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
    he is called the God of all the earth.


This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 30th of November 2022, brought to you by 1517 at


The show is produced by a man whose favorite Andrews include the sisters, the saint, Spiderman’s Garfield, and W.K. He is Christopher Gillespie.


The show is written and read by a man whose favorite Angus’ includes the king, the beef, and McDuck. I’m Dan van Voorhis.


You can catch us here every day- and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.

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