Wednesday, 30 November 2011

November 30th is St Andrew's Day

St Andrew is the paton saint of Scotland, but who was he? Anyone who attended Sunday School will remember Jesus going to the Sea of Galilee and calling Simon Peter, and his brother (2 fishermen) to come and be "Fishers of Men". Simon Peter's brother was Andrew.

Andrew was a disciple, an apostle and an evangelist for early Christianity. He was crucified in Greece by the Romans and was hung on an 'X' shaped cross. Legend has it that St Regulus (St Rule) was ordered by God to have Andrew's remains "scattered to the ends of the earth." Some believe this was simply meaning that his evangelism be scattered to the ends of the earth. However, St Regulus set off across the sea and stepped ashore in Fife - in the town now known as St Andrew's. A fishing village. He is known as the Saint of Fishermen, maidens and barren women.

The Saltire - or the cross of St Andrew's - was later adopted as the national emblem of Scotland. The cross is 'X' shaped to match the cross Andrew was crucified on. The white cross was originally silver, but in heraldry, white stands for silver. The saltire is incorporated into the Union Jack (a white diagonal cross).

It was in 1320, at the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath, that Andrew was officially declared the Patron Saint of Scotland. Today St Andrew's Day is a bank holiday. For those of us not living in Scotland, but of Scottish ancestry, it becomes a day to honour our heritage.

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