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

It is the 30th of November 2021. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org, I’m Dan van Voorhis.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

One army is going to face another army in a very important battle. Before the battle one of the leaders prays and asks for a sign. Upon receiving this sign and winning the battle a new religious culture will develop.

Yes, it’s the story of Constantine and the Battle at Milvian Bridge wherein he was supposedly shown *a sign* that convinced him that Jesus was on his side and wanted him to win the battle. But our story for today's takes place in the 800s in a battle being waged in the British Isles between the Picts and the Angles. Angus II, leader of the Picts prayed for a sign (according to one story) and (according to another story, later mushed together with the older one) a on the morning of the battle the sky was blue marked only with the appearance of an x, or a saltire cross, in the clouds.

If you can think of the Scottish flag- it is a light blue background with a white “X” or saltire flag- or, now as it is also known a “St. Andrews Cross”. And with this story, the tale of St. Regulus developed. We’ve told his story on this show before- he was a greek who was given word that the bones of St. Andrew were going to be stolen. So he took a kneecap, a couple of fingers, and teeth from the deceased apostle and headed North. When he supposedly wrecked off the East Coast of Scotland he took the relics with him into what would become the town of St. Andrews which would become the ecclesiastical center of the Catholic Church in Scotland and then ground zero for the Scottish Reformation.

Andrew, of course, is the patron saint of many things: Russia, Romania, Fishmongers, singers, miners, and pregnant women. But he is most associated with Scotland. Why is this so?

In the Middle Ages as kingdoms were developing it was important to have an origin story based on divine providence. Your local patron saint would say a lot about the prestige of your own kingdom/town/village etc… England has St. George, who despite pretending is the coolest pretend saint of them all. Ireland has St. Patrick, who while perhaps more important to the Irish abroad than the Irish at home, is a worthy saint. Wales has St. David, a shadowy historical figure but popular nonetheless. And Scotland had one, too. St. Columba. Not a bad saint. But an Irish saint who evangelized the west coast of Scotland.

And so it was, in the era of Scottish Independence, the era of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce that Scotland was officially recognized as a Christian kingdom with Andrew as its patron.

You might ask a Scot what they do for St. Andrews day and they would likely tell you the same on the day before, and the same on the day after. In fact, St. Andrews day as a holiday to celebrate all things Scottish came from 18th century Scottish ex-pats in South Carolina.

A couple of notes on Andrew himself-

He was a Galilean fisherman with a greek name, Andrew comes from “andros” which is the Greek word for man. We can assume this represented a kind of openness in Andrew’s family to what was, for them, multicultural society by that time. It’s good to remember that his brother was not given a greek name (yet) but was called “Simon bar Jonah”.

The timing of the calling of the disciples isn’t clear, but from the Gospel of John, it seems that Andrew- a disciple of John the Baptist- was the first called. For this reason, he is called the Protokletos or, “first called”. And- as you know the church year just began, and who is the first of the disciples to be commemorated? The first disciple. The Protokletos, St. Andrew.

The last word for today comes from John 1:

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah”

This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 30th of November 2021 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.

The show is produced by a man with Irn Bru in his veins he is Christopher Gillespie.

The show is written and read by a proud alum of the University of St. Andrews, est. 1410. 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.