St. Andrew, ‘the first called’


By Mel Mantanona

If there was a saint who could be considered the forefront of our faith, it could possibly be St. Peter. He’s the one who Jesus gave the keys to the Kingdom and he’s our first pope. Everyone knows St. Peter, but how many people know of St. Andrew, his brother, whom also was a close disciple and apostle of Jesus? What does the Bible tell us about him?

His brother, Peter, was known as Simon bar-Jonah, bar meaning “son of” and having that Andrew and Peter were siblings, Andrew would’ve also been known as Andrew bar-Jonah. Andrew is usually mentioned after Peter and this manner suggests that he was younger than Peter. We also know that Andrew was also a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee before meeting and following Jesus.

Andrew’s name is of Greek orgin and not Aramaic. His name closely relates to the Greek word for “man” or “manly.” In the Byzantine Church, he is honored with the nickname “Protokletos” which means “the first called” because in the Gospel of John, Andrew is the first person to encounter Jesus: “One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus” (Jn 1: 40-43).

Pope Benedict notes three impressionable instances where Andrew played a role in what was happening in the Gospels: first, when Andrew points out to Jesus that a young boy seemingly didn’t have much on his plate during the miracle of the multiplication of loaves; second, when Andrew and a few other disciples asked questions after Jesus stated that the beautiful stones of the temple will be torn down; and lastly, when Andrew alongside Phillip worked as interpreters and mediators between Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus before His Passion.

Tradition states that he died in Greece after being crucified. Like his brother, Andrew’s cross was a diagonal one because he felt unworthy to die on one shaped like Jesus’s own. His feast day is Nov. 30.