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In search of the Apostles, 'Andrew, brother of Peter'

Updated on September 16, 2016
lawrence01 profile image

Loving God and loving mankind is an important part of who I am, in these hubs we explore what it's like to really follow Jesus.

'The First Called'

Andrew 'The first called '


Stop for a moment and picture a scene in your mind. A beautiful spring day with the sun slowly climbing in the sky, you're walking by the sea, or lakeside as you might like to call it and there are men working on their boats, some are unloading the catch they have and loading it onto wooden carts ready to take it to market as the village markets begin to open up, some are even being salted and stuffed into wooden barrel-like containers to be taken the sixty miles or so Jerusalem, the nearest big city, about sixty miles or two days by road away.

In the distance there's a lone figure walking, he's seemingly just ambling along, but he stops and talks to a bunch of men, there's at least five of them in the group, possibly more, but he seems to address four in particular, and the strangest thing happens, they stop what they're doing, put their nets down, two of them reach over and kiss the oldest in the group, possibly their father and leave right there and then when the work isn't finished, Who can this be?

Okay, there's a bit of artistic licence there! I know that, but I wonder if that's the picture you and I have when we read the gospels about Jesus calling his first four disciples? By the way, the picture is pretty close to a true one according to the accounts, but it wasn't the first time some of them had met Jesus!

Two of them (Andrew and John) had met him about a month or so before, and in particular, Andrew was apparently the first one to realize who Jesus actually was.

Prōtoklētos (Πρωτόκλητος) (The 'first called')

This is the name given to Andrew the brother of Peter by the Orthodox Church.Catholics see their church as a link to St Peter with the Pope as being the 'successor' to Peter as the 'vicar of Christ' here on earth, the Orthodox Church traces its roots back to St Andrew none other than Peters brother.

Andrew, Peter's brother

An Orthodox 'Icon' of St Andrew
An Orthodox 'Icon' of St Andrew | Source

Bringing people to Jesus

The first time Andrew shows up is right there after Jesus' baptism. He was there when John the Baptist dipped Jesus in the Jordan, he was one of the people who heard John identify Jesus as the 'Lamb of God'

We don't know how many heard John say those words, we do know that only two men took it on themselves to find out more about this man.

Think about that for a moment. They heard a great prophet in the nation identify the one whom God had sent, maybe they were part of a crowd that heard it, we just don't know, but they went and sought him out, they wanted to know more!

John’s Disciples Follow Jesus

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah" 42 And he brought him to Jesus.


Pretty much every time we meet Andrew after that point he's bringing someone to Jesus for a meeting. He first brought his brother Simon who became the Peter of the gospels we all know and love, then he brought the boy with the fish and loaves in the story of the feeding of the five thousand, one of our favorite stories from the Bible.

Later on, Philip has some Greek friends who want to meet with Jesus, but he doesn't go to Simon Peter, James or even John, he comes to Andrew to make the introduction.

Actually, it's interesting here as Andrew was the first to follow Jesus, but he also doesn't have a Hebrew name! Every other disciple has a Hebrew name or a Hebrew equivalent, even Philip is called by something else in places, but Andrew only has the Greek name. Ἀνδρέας (pronounced Andreas) is related to ἀνδρεία (Andreia meaning 'manly' or bravery (Valor) and associated with the Greek word 'ανθρπς' (Anthropos meaning mankind). So in some ways, Andrew is the first one to introduce none Jews to Jesus!

How one artist sees him

Andrew in later life
Andrew in later life | Source

Andrew from a different perspective

What happened after?

Actually not a lot is known about Andrew after the close of the Gospels, he hardly appears in the book of Acts at all, where Peter is prominent Andrew seems to disappear, but we do know some things.

Andrew headed north, and third-century tradition has it that he went out preaching the gospel in regions to the north beyond the borders of the Roman Empire.

Up until 4 BC Judea hadn't been totally in the Roman Empire but was what was known as a 'client kingdom' one that nominally had independence, but in times of trouble could call on Rome for help to repel invaders, Judea had been seen by Rome as vital to the supply of grain to the Empire and as such needed to be protected, so until 4 BC was given a degree of autonomy.

Further to the northeast were the 'client kingdoms' of Armenia (present-day eastern Turkey, Armenia and Georgia) and beyond them was Scythia where lots of smaller kingdoms were known, they were warlike, but also well known to Rome and Jewish traders were in abundance through the region.

Andrew is known to have gone to the northeastern Kingdoms and preached as far away as Scythia.

Eusebius of Caesarea The first church Historian (early fourth century) says that Andrew reached Scythia (his source is Origin of Alexandria early third century) and all along the coast of the Black sea, later tradition claims that he reached as far as modern day Kiev in the Ukraine.

Before you totally discount the idea it's worthwhile to note that Roman coins from the second century have been found along the banks of the Volga river as far north as Moscow and Viking traders were known to use their longboats along both the Volga and Dnieper rivers (they were ideal for river use) as early as the second century! He could well have reached there.

Important sites for Andrew

A
Sea of Galilee:
Sea of Galilee

get directions

Andrew and Peter meet Jesus

B
Jerusalem:
Jerusalem, Israel

get directions

Jesus crucified, buried and rose again

C
Armenia:
Armenia

get directions

Andrew heads north, he certainly reached here.

D
Odessa:
Odessa, Odessa Oblast, Ukraine

get directions

Andrew is reputed to have reached here, well outside the Empire!

E
Kiev:
Kiev, Ukraine, 02000

get directions

Later legends have him reaching here

F
Patras, Greece:
Patras, Greece

get directions

Site of his martyrdom. Tradition has it he was crucified on an X shaped cross

G
St Andrews, Scotland:
St Andrews KY16, UK

get directions

Tradition says in the 3rd century some of his bones were taken to 'Caledonia' as Scotland was then known.

Interesting legends

I've always thought that the relics of St Andrew in Scotland got there as a result of marauding crusaders, but it turns out they actually got there much earlier, one legend has them arriving as early as 350 AD with a monk from Patras who's been told in a dream to take them to 'the ends of the earth'

The most likely is that they arrived around the beginning of the sixth century with Augustinian monks, the church in Britain at the time was 'Celtic' and wanting to maintain some form of independence from the growing influence of Rome so they were able to secure some of the relics of St Andrew and were able to claim a link back to the Apostles (and thus didn't always have to do what the successor to 'St Peter' always said!).


Lessons for us today.

Andrew was martyred around 60 AD in a place called Patras in Greece, tradition has it that it was on November the 30th (hence his feast day). He was scheduled to be crucified in the traditional way but asked the executioners if they could change the type of cross to an X shape as he wasn't worthy to die on the same type of cross that Jesus had died on!

What happened to the churches he founded after? we know that Armenia was the first kingdom to actually turn to Christ in the early second century, other Apostles would also go there and would be instrumental, did they all go in one group? we can't really tell, what we can tell is that Andrew was the kind of believer that didn't fit any mould!

He went outside the Empire and reached out in the 'barbarian lands' to the north, in the region that the Romans feared and would one day cause the Empire to collapse, to a place they called 'The sea of nations'

As such Andrew became a kind of symbol to those who don't really fit any 'pattern' like the Celts who didn't want to follow all that the bishops in Rome said, to the Orthodox who saw things differently to some of the others and to anyone who wants to 'introduce people to Jesus' no matter where they're from!

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    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      22 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Robert

      So true!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      23 months ago

      That is one advantage of writing. It is fun for the writer.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Robert

      Thank you, I'm enjoying the series too!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      23 months ago

      A very interesting Hub. I especially like your map it illustrates St. Andrews ' travels very well. You give some very good perceptions.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Larry

      Glad you enjoyed it

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      23 months ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting perspective.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Deb

      I think there are things that can be 'verified' historically (like the fact they did live and most of the ways they died) but there are things that will always be 'legend' but the legends themselves were often stories told with a 'moral to the story',

      For me, Andrew is the Apostle of the 'little guy' and as such his story is precious to us.

      Lawrence

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      23 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Interesting concepts. It will be interesting to know what the final outcome will be in the historical work related to these Biblical times. Will we ever know the truth?

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 

      23 months ago from Australia

      Lawrence

      The point is that the Apostles names increased exponentially and spread far and wide. Several names were Jewish, some Greek and some Latin. These became common Christian names as did other names such as Mary etc. By "modern" times these Christian names were ubiquitous to the point where names like John etc outnumbered all others.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      It's not an easy article to read but the ideas are interesting. I have read before that one Roman practice was for soldiers to take the 'name' of their favorite emperor or dynasty.

      It was also common that freed slaves also took on the names of the men who set them free.

      Having said that it then makes sense that within the Empire at least people who became believers would want to name their children after the men and women who brought them the message of salvation.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 

      24 months ago from Australia

      Here is an interesting link:

      the bottom of page 139 at

      http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/114213/1/SalwayJRS1994....

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 

      24 months ago from Australia

      Lawrence

      I've just been reading up on the prevalence of the Apostles names after the 1st Century AD in Christian communities/history and it looks well established that all such "Christian" names derived from the Apostles. Particularly in the Roman Empire where name structures had the structure we have now ie first middle and last names. Most of the Apostles names were "Jewish" so the added fact that such names suddenly became very prominent after the first century speaks very authoritatively about the existence of all the Apostles.

      St Andrews reputation as European proselytizer also accounts for the name spreading far and wide through Europe.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      Some of the 'tribes' that now make up Russia migrated from Central Asia "Scythia" around the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire. These are the people that Andrew is known to have reached, but how far he got into the region we just don't know.

      Some scholars see the link to Andrew as a reaction against Rome's claim to 'Peter' but I think there was a physical link in that he planted the churches among them.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 

      24 months ago from Australia

      Point taken. If tradition has it that St Andrew proselytized in Russia we have linguistic evidence (his popular name) as more evidence.

      It might be worth doing a net search on the name Andrew and it's historical use in Russia. There are bound to be records these days at our finger tips.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      The idea behind the series is to see if we can use some of the evidence from tradition to see what the Apostles did after the book of Acts and the New Testament.

      I agree with you about the linguistics showing the 'crossover' of cultures.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 

      24 months ago from Australia

      Lawrence

      by using the science of linguistics anthropologists have traced migration routes say across the Pacific over a period of a thousand years or more

      The true holistic picture of actual Biblical research provides overwhelming evidence of all the Apostles, the life of Jesus, and numerous sites, texts, events, political figures, personages, oral traditions etc.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      Point taken about the linguistics.

      Lawrence

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 

      24 months ago from Australia

      Lawrence

      The point is about linguistics:

      the name ANDREW is Ancient Greek. It's spread to Russia as a popular "Russian" name is proof of St Andrews ministry. By analysing linguistics we can see the rapid spread of all the apostles names in the 1st Century AD as parents baptised their children.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      Thanks for the information there, you're right about each group 'taking ownership' in some way. It shows that Andrew has a message for each and every one of us, one that says Christ never rejects anyone who comes to him.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Linda

      Glad you enjoyed the hub. I'm really enjoying 'learning' about the Apostles too!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 

      24 months ago from Australia

      It is noteworthy that the actual name "Andrew" ( and its ethnic variations) became a very popular Christian name in Russia and elsewhere from the 1st century.

      All the apostles names were used profusely by 1st century Christian parents for their children hence providing even more very early primary source evidence of the existence of the apostles.

      "Andrew" is considered by the Russians to be a quintessential Russian name and likewise by the Scots,French,Polish, Greek and Italians! The derivation can be traced directly back to St Andrew from the 1st Century AD.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      Won't it be awesome when we get to heaven and can go ask them questions? walking up to Andrew and asking "Hey bro, did you really make it all the way to Kiev? what were the roads like?"

      I'm a bit of a 'personalizer' too! asking the question "What can I learn here?" so I really enjoyed writing this hub.

      By the way, I'm still 'toying with the idea' of a book with these hubs, so we'll see how things work out.

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Glad to read you liked the hub. I've also been fascinated by the Apostles and the problems they encountered, what I like is that they didn't let the problems stop them!

      I also think there's a huge amount we can learn from them today. I liked the story of Andrew's remains being taken to 'The furthest parts of the earth' to keep them out of the Emperor's hands and then becoming a symbol for those who 'don't quite fit the traditional mould' but maybe that's because so many of us don't fit that mould!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      24 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Thank you for another great installment in this series. I look forward to learning more about the Apostles. Your research is amazing.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      24 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      You do this so well. I will definitely get your book when it comes out. I am a personalizer I like to think of these guys as sitting next to me. How did they do that? Just drop their work in seconds and follow empty handed?

      I like to think of Andrew as the "Gateway dude".

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent summary, Lawrence. I have always been fascinated by the apostles simply as historic figures, the struggles they endured, the bias, the ridicule and their steadfast determination.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Word55

      I'm enjoying researching the series. Learning what it was really like for these folks.

      Lawrence

    • word55 profile image

      Word 

      24 months ago from Chicago

      Hey Lawrence, Very interesting history of Apostle/Disciple Andrew. I really enjoyed reading it. Keep up the good work. God bless!

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Mel

      No idea! And I didn't know he was the 'patron saint' either! I knew there was a 'special connection' but just wanted to explore a bit and 'see where it went'

      Glad you enjoyed it.

      Lawrence

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      24 months ago from San Diego California

      More fantastic research. I am ashamed to admit that I didn't know that the Orthodox Church venerates Andrew as their saint. Mysterious that he doesn't have a Hebrew name. Any theories why this is? Great hub, my friend.

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