10 - 14 minutes readNovember 30 – St Andrew, Apostle ~ Dom Prosper Gueranger

Reader Mode Text to speech

November 30 – St Andrew, Apostle

Martyrdom of St Andrew

This feast is destined each year to terminate with solemnity the cycle which is at its close, or to add luster to the new one which has just begun. It seems, indeed, fitting that the Christian year should begin and end with the cross, which has merited for us each of those years which it has pleased the divine goodness to grant us, and which is to appear, on the last day, in the clouds of heaven, as the seal put on time.


We should remember that Saint Andrew is the Apostle of the Cross. To Peter, Jesus has given firmness of faith; to John, warmth of love; the mission of Andrew is to represent the Cross of his divine Master. Now it is by these three, faith, love, and the Cross, that the Church renders herself worthy of her Spouse. Everything she has or is, bears this threefold character. Hence it is that after the two Apostles just named, there is none who holds such a prominent place in the universal Liturgy as Saint Andrew.

But let us read the life of this glorious fisherman of the lake of Genesareth, who was afterwards to be the successor of Christ himself, and the companion of Peter, on the tree of the Cross. The Church has compiled it from the ancient Acts of the Martyrdom of the holy Apostle, drawn up by the priests of the Church of Patræ, which was founded by the Saint. The authenticity of this venerable piece has been contested by Protestants, inasmuch as it makes mention of several things which would militate against them. Their sentiment has been adopted by several critics of the 17th and 18th centuries. On the other hand, these Acts have been received by a far greater number of Catholic writers of eminence; amongst whom may be mentioned the great Baronius, Labbe, Natalis Alexander, Gallandus, Lumper, Morcelli, etc. The Churches, too, of both East and West, which have inserted these Acts in their respective Offices of St. Andrew, are of some authority, as is also St. Bernard, who has made them the groundwork of his three admirable sermons on St. Andrew.

Andreas Apostolus, Bethsaidæ natus, qui est Galilææ vicus, frater Petri, discipulus Joannis Baptistæ, quum eum de Christo dicentem audisset, Ecce Agnus Dei, secutus Jesum, fratrem quoque suum ad eumdem perduxit. Quum postea una cum fratre piscaretur in mari Galilææ, ambo a prætereunte Christo Domino ante alios Apostolos vocati illis verbis: Venite post me, faciam vos fieri piscatores hominum: nullam interponentes moram, et relictis retibus secuti sunt eum. Post cujus Passionem et Ressurectionem Andreas cum in Scythiam Europæ, quæ ei provincia ad Christi fidem disseminandam obtigerat, venisset, deinde Epirum ac Thraciam peragrasset, doctrina et miraculis innumerabiles homines ad Christum convertit. Post Patras Chaia profectus, et in ea urbe plurimis ad veritatem Evangelicam perductis, Ægeam Proconsulem, prædicationi Evangelicæ resistentem, liberrime increpavit quod qui judex hominum haberi vellet, Christum Deum omnium Judicem a dæmonibus elusus non agnosceret. Andrew, the Apostle, born at Bethsaida, a town of Galilee, was brother of Peter, and disciple of John the Baptist. Having heard his master say, speaking of Christ: Behold the Lamb of God! he followed Jesus, and brought to him his brother also. When, afterwards, he was fishing with his brother in the sea of Galilee, they were both called, before any of the other Apostles, by our Lord, who, passing by, said to them: Come after me; I will make you to be fishers of men. Without delay, they left their nets and followed him. After the passion and resurrection, Andrew went to spread the faith of Christ in Scythia in Europe, which was the province assigned to him; then he travelled through Epirus and Thrace, and by his teaching and miracles converted innumerable souls to Christ. Afterwards, having reached Patræ in Achaia, he persuaded many in that city to embrace the truth of the Gospel. Finding that the Proconsul Ægeas resisted the preaching of the Gospel, he most freely upbraided him for that he, who desired to be considered as a judge of men, should be so far deceived by devils as not to acknowledge Christ to be God, the Judge of all.

Tunc &AElg;geas iratus: Desine, inquit, Christum jactare, cui similia verba nihil profuerunt, uominus a Judæis cricifigeretur. Andream de Christo nihilominus libere prædicantem, quod pro salute humani generis se crucifigendum abtulisset, impia oratione interpellat, ac demum hortatur, ur sibi consulens, diis velit immolare. Cui Andreas: Ego omnipotenti Deo, qui unus et verus est, immolo quotidie, non taurorum carnes, nec hircorum sanguinem, sed immaculatum Agnum, in altari, cujus carnem posteaquam omnis populus credentium manducaverit, Agnus qui sacrificatus est, integer perseverat et vivus. Quamobrem ira accensus Ægeas jubeteum in carcerem detrudi: unde populus Andream facile liberasset, nisi ipse sedasset multitudinem; vehementius rogans, ne se ad optatissimam martyrii coronam properantem impedirent. Then Ægeas being angry, said: Cease to boast of this Christ, whom such like words as these kept not from being crucified by the Jews. But finding that Andrew continued boldly preaching that Christ had offered himself to be crucified for the salvation of mankind, he interrupts him by an impious speech, and at length exhorts him to look to his own interest and sacrifice to the gods. Andrew answered him: I offer up every day to almighty God, who is one and true, not the flesh of oxen, nor the blood of goats, but the spotless Lamb upon the altar; of whose flesh the whole multitude of the faithful eat, and the Lamb that is sacrificed, remains whole and living. Whereupon Ægeas being exceeding angry, orders him to be thrust into prison, whence the people would easily have freed Andrew, had he not himself appeased the multitude, begging of them, with most earnest entreaty, that they would not keep him from the long-sought-for crown of martyrdom, to which he was hastening.
Igitur paulo post in tribunal productum, cum Ægeas Crucis extollentem mysteria, sibique suam impietatem exprobrantem diutius ferre non posset, in crucem tolli, et Christi mortem imitari jussit. Adductus Andreas ad locum martyrii, cum crucem vidisset longe, exclamare cœpit: O bona Crux, quæ decorem ex membris Domini suscepist, diu desiderata, sollicite amata, sine intermissione quæsita, et aliquando cupienti animo præparata: accipe me ab hominibus, et redde me magistro meo; ut per te me recipiat, qui per te me redemit. Itaque cruci affixus est: in qua biduum vivus pendens, et Christi fidem prædicare nunquam intermittens, ad eum migravit, cujus mortis similitudinem concupierat. Quæ omnia Presbyteri et Diaconi Achaiæ qui ejus Passionem scripserunt, se ita ut commemorata sunt, audisse et vidisse testantur. Ejus ossa primum Constantio imperatore Constantinopolim, deinde Amalphim translata sunt. Caput, Pio Secundo Pontifice, Romam allatum, in Basilica sancti Petri collocatum est. Not long after this, he was brought before the tribunal, where he began to extol the mystery of the Cross, and rebuke the judge for his impiety. Ægeas, no longer able to contain himself on hearing these words, ordered him to be hoisted on a cross, and so to die like Christ. Andrew having been brought to the place of execution, seeing the Cross at some distance, began to cry out: O good Cross, made beautiful by the body of my Lord! so long desired, so anxiously loved, so unceasingly sought after, and now at last ready for my soul to enjoy! take me to my Master, that by thee He may receive me, who by thee redeemed me. He was therefore fastened to the cross, on which he hung alive two days, preaching without cessation the faith of Christ: after which he passed to Him, whose death he had so coveted. The Priests and Deacons of Achaia, who wrote his Passion, attest that all the things which they have recorded were heard and seen by them. His relics were first translated to Constantinople, under the emperor Constantius, and afterwards to Amalfi. During the Pontificate of Pius II, the head was taken to Rome, and placed in the Basilica of St. Peter.

Nothing could be more expressive than the language used by holy Church in praise of the Apostle of the Cross. First, she employs the words of the Gospel, which record the circumstances of his vocation; then, she selects the most touching passages from the Acts of his martyrdom, drawn up by the priests of Patræ; and both are intermingled with appropriate sentiments of her own. Our first selection shall be from the Responsories of Matins.

℟. Cum perambularet Dominus juxta mare Galilææ, vidit Petrum et Andream retia mittentes in mare: et vocavit eos, dicens: — Venite post me, faciam vos fieri piscatores hominum. ℣. Erant enim piscatores, et ait illis: — Venite post me, faciam vos fieri piscatores hominum. ℟. When the Lord was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw Peter and Andrew casting nets into the sea, and he called them, saying: — Come after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men. ℣. For they were fishers, and he saith to them: — Come after me, I will make you to be fishers of men.
℟. Mox ut vocem Domini prædicantis audivit beatus Andreas, relictis retibus, quorum usu actuque vivebat, — Æternæ vitæ secutus est præmia largientem. ℣. Hic est qui pro amore Christi pependit in cruce, et pro lege ejus sustinuit passionem. — Æternæ vitæ secutus est præmia largientem. ℟. As soon as blessed Andrew heard the voice of the Lord calling him, leaving his nets, by the use and working of which he lived, — He followed him who gives the reward of eternal life. ℣. This is he who, for the love of Christ, hung upon a cross, and for his law endured a passion. — He followed Him who gives the reward of eternal life.
℟. Doctor bonus, et amicus Dei Andreas ducitur ad crucem; quam a longe aspiciens dixit: Salve, Crux! — Suscipe discipulum ejus, qui pependit in te magister meus Christus. ℣. Salve, Crux, quæ in corpore Christi dedicata es; et ex membris ejus tamquam margaritis ornata. — Suscipe discipulum ejus qui pependit in te, magister meus Christus. ℟. Andrew, the good Teacher, and the friend of God, is led to the Cross; which, seeing afar off, he says: Hail, O Cross! — Receive the disciple of Him who hung upon thee, Christ, my master. ℣. Hail, O Cross, which art consecrated by the body of Christ, and art adorned by his members as with pearls. — Receive the disciple of Him who hung upon thee, Christ, my master.
℟. Videns crucem Andreas exclamavit, dicens: O Crux admirabilis! O Crux desiderabilis! O Crux quæ per totum mundum rutilas! — Suscipe discipulum Christi, ac per te me recipiat, qui per te moriens me redemit. ℣. O bona Crux, quæ decorem et pulchristudinem de membris Domini suscepisti. — Suscipe discipulum Christi, ac per te me recipiat, qui per te moriens me redemit. ℟. Andrew seeing the Cross, cried out, saying: O admirable Cross! O desirable Cross! O Cross which shinest throughout the whole world! — Receive the disciple of Christ, and by thee may He receive me, who dying by thee redeemed me. ℣. O good Cross, which art made fair and beautiful by the body of the Lord. — Receive the disciple of Christ, and by thee may he receive me, who dying by thee redeemed me.
℟. Oravit sanctus Andreas, dum respiceret in cœlum, et voce magna clamavit et dixit: Tu es Deus meus, quem vidi: ne me patiaris ab impio judice deponi: — Quia virtutem sanctæ Crucis agnovi. ℣. Tu es magister meus Christus, quem dilexi, quem cognovi, quem confessus sum: tantummodo in ista voce, exaudi me. — Quia virtutem sanctæ Crucis agnovi. ℟. Saint Andrew prayed, as he looked up to heaven, and with a loud voice, cried out and said: Thou art my God, whom I have seen: suffer me not to be detached by the impious judge: — For I have learnt the power of the holy Cross. ℣. Thou art the Christ my master, whom I have loved, whom I have known, whom I have confessed: graciously hear me in this one prayer. — For I have learnt the power of the holy Cross.

Salve Crux pretiosa! suscipe discipulum ejus, qui pependit in te, magister meus Christus. Hail O precious Cross! receive the disciple of Him, who hung upon thee, Christ my master.
Beatus Andreas orabat, dicens: Domine, Rex æternæ gloriæ, suscipe me pendentem in patibulo. The blessed Andrew prayed, saying: O Lord, King of eternal glory, receive me hanging on this gibbet.
Andreas Christi famulus dignus Dei Apostolus, germanus Petri, et in passione socius. Andrew, the servant of Christ, the worthy Apostle of God, the brother of Peter, and his companion in the cross.
Maximilla Christo amabilis, tulit corpus Apostoli, optimo loco cum aromatibus sepelivit. Maximilla, a woman dear to Christ, took the body of the Apostle, and embalming it, buried it in a most honored place.
Qui persequebantur justum, demersisti eos, Domine, in inferno, et in ligno Crucis dux justi fuisti. Thou, O Lord, didst plunge into hell them that persecuted thy just one, and wast his guide and helper on the wood of the cross.

God grants us to meet thee, O blessed Andrew, at the threshold of the mystic Season of Advent, on which we are so soon to enter. When Jesus, our Messias, began his public life, thou hadst already become the obedient disciple of the Precursor, who preached his coming: thou wast among the first of them who received the Son of Mary as the Messias foretold in the law and the prophets. But thou couldst not keep the heavenly secret from him who was so dear to thee; to Peter, then, thou didst bear the good tidings, and didst lead him to Jesus.


O blessed Apostle! we also are longing for the Messias, the Savior of our souls; since thou hast found him, lead us also unto him. We place under thy protection the holy period of expectation and preparation, which is to bring us to the day of our Savior’s Nativity, that divine mystery in which he will manifest himself to the world. Assist us to render ourselves worthy of seeing him on that great night. The baptism of penance prepared thee for receiving the grace of knowing the Word of life; pray for us that we may become truly penitent and may purify our hearts, during that holy time, and thus be able to behold him, who has said: Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.

Thou hast a special power of leading souls to Jesus, O glorious Saint! for even he, who was to be made the pastor of the whole flock, was presented to the Messias by thee. By calling thee to himself on this day, our Lord has given thee as the patron of Christians who, each year, seeking again that God in whom thou art now living, pray to thee to show them the way which leads to Jesus.

Thou teachest us this way; it is that of fidelity, of fidelity even to the Cross. In that way thou didst courageously walk: and because the Cross leads to Jesus Christ, thou didst passionately love the Cross. Pray for us, O holy Apostle! that we may begin to understand this love of the Cross; and that having understood it, we may put it in practice. Thy brother says to us in his EpistleChrist having suffered in the flesh, be you also armed with the same thought. Thy feast, O blessed Andrew! shows us thee as the living commentary of this doctrine. Because thy Master was crucified, thou wouldst also be crucified. From the high throne to which thou hast been raised by the Cross, pray for us, that the Cross may be unto us the expiation of the sins which are upon us, the quenching of the passions which burn within us, and the means of uniting us by love to him, who, through love alone for us, was nailed to the cross.


This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)