Did the Apostle Andrew reach the Dnieper and Ladoga?

On December 13, according to the new style, the Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called. According to medieval sources, the Apostle Andrew visited the future Russian lands and even reached Valaam, where he erected a stone cross. This saint was always greatly revered in Rus’, temples were erected in his honor, ships and orders were named.

Apostle Andrew – traveler

The Holy Apostle Andrew is called the First-Called, because he was the first of the disciples to follow Christ. Being called, Andrew immediately brought his brother to Christ Simone Petra. The brothers lived in Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of ​​Galilee and were engaged in fishing.

In the Gospel, the Apostle Andrew is mentioned several more times – he was with the Lord Jesus Christ during the miracle with five loaves that fed five thousand people (John 6, 8-9), spoke with the Lord on Palm Sunday (John 12, 22) , asked Him together with the apostles Peter, James and John on the Mount of Olives about the future destruction of Jerusalem and about the signs of the Second Coming of the Savior (Mark 13:3-4; Matt. 24:1-14; Luke 21:5-19).

After Pentecost, the Apostle Andrew set out to preach the Word of God to the eastern countries. He passed Asia Minor, Thrace, Macedonia, reached the Danube, passed the Black Sea coast, Crimea, the Black Sea region. There is a legend that the saint ascended the Dnieper to the place where the city of Kyiv now stands, but the opinions of church historians differ regarding this journey.

“However, people who know doubt the truth of this Andreev’s journey,” Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin wrote in the History of the Russian State.

At the same time, Metropolitan Macarius (Bulgakov) noted:

“The tradition of the gospel of the holy Apostle Andrew, even in the inner regions of our fatherland, does not contain anything incredible, and there is no reason to reject it unconditionally or take it for one idea.”

Founder of the Church of Constantinople

If historians argue about the visit of the Apostle Andrew to the Dnieper and Ladoga, then his role as the founder of the future Church of Constantinople does not cause them doubts. The Apostle Andrew founded a Christian community in the small town of Byzantium, which later became the Second Rome, and the church became the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Around the year 38, the Apostle Andrew ordained his disciple Stachy as a bishop for this community. It is logical to assume that in Rus’ the legends about the visit of the Apostle Andrew to Kyiv and Novgorod spread to emphasize their succession from Byzantium.

The holy Apostle Andrew ended his earthly life in Patras. In this city, through the prayers of the apostle, many miracles and healings took place. As a result of the fiery sermon of the Apostle Andrew, almost all the inhabitants of Patras converted to Christ, only the ruler of the city of Aegeat remained a pagan. The words of the apostle angered him, and Egeat ordered to crucify St. Andrew on a cross of a special shape, in the form of the letter X. By tradition, this cross is called St. Andrew’s. In order to prolong the torment of the apostle, the governor ordered not to nail the hands and feet of the martyr to the cross with nails, but to tie them with ropes.

But even being crucified, the Apostle Andrew continued to preach to the townspeople gathered around. The people who listened to him sympathized with the martyr and demanded that he be taken down from the cross. Fearing an uprising, the ruler ordered an end to the execution. But Andrew the First-Called, wishing death on the cross for the Lord, prayed: “Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit.” The soldiers could not untie the hands of the martyr. Suddenly, a bright radiance illuminated the cross, and when it stopped, people saw that the holy Apostle had already committed his soul to the Lord. Maximilla, the ruler’s wife, removed the body of the Apostle from the cross and buried it with honor. It happened in 62.

In the year 357, under Emperor Constantine the Great, the relics of the Apostle Andrew were solemnly transferred to Constantinople and laid in the Church of the Holy Apostles next to the relics of the holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke and the disciple of the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Timothy. After the capture of Constantinople by the crusaders in 1208, the relics of St. Andrew were transported to Italy and placed in the cathedral in Amalfi. Under Pope Pius II in 1458, the honest head of the apostle was transferred to Rome and placed in St. Peter’s Cathedral.

There is also a legend according to which the relics of St. Andrew the Apostle were brought to Scotland in the 8th century, of which he is considered the patron saint. Apostle Andrew is also considered the heavenly patron of Russia, Romania, Greece, Sicily and Amalfi.

Heavenly patron of sailors

The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called is also considered the heavenly patron of the fleet, fishermen and all sailors. Emperor Peter I established in honor of the Apostle Andrew the first and highest order, which was given as a reward to the dignitaries of the state. Since the time of Peter the Great, the Russian fleet has made the Andreevsky flag (on a white background a blue X-shaped cross on a white background) its banner, under the shadow of which the Russians won many victories.

Temples in honor of St. Andrew the First-Called

In honor of the Apostle Andrew the First-Called, many churches were erected in Rus’. Already in the 11th century, the veneration of the Apostle Andrew in Rus’ became widespread. So, in 1030, the youngest son of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, Vsevolod Yaroslavich, was baptized with the name Andrei. In 1086, he founded the Andreevsky (Yanchin) monastery in Kyiv. At the end of the 11th century, the holy prince Vsevolod Yaroslavich built the first temple in Novgorod in the name of St. Andrew the First-Called.

The first stone Kiev temple in honor of St. Andrew the First-Called has not survived to this day. Later, in 1749–1753, a new cathedral in honor of St. Andrew the First-Called was built on Andreevsky Spusk by the architect Rasstreli, which was transferred to the UAOC in the 1990s. A new Orthodox church was built in 2000 on the slopes of the Dnieper at Askold’s Grave, on the site where a monastery once existed, destroyed by the Soviets, of which one temple, owned by Greek Catholics, has now survived.

Peter I dedicated a wooden church on the Solovetsky Islands, built on his orders, to the Holy Apostle Andrew, in which he prayed before a military campaign.

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