St. Andrew

According to Christian tradition, St. Andrew, like his brother Peter, was born in Bethsaida near the Sea of Galilee, and was also a fisherman, called by Jesus to be a “fisher of men.”  The sculpture of St. Andrew in the columbarium in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California, depicts St. Andrew holding a cross saltire, which is an x-shaped cross, also known as crux decussata.  Because the saltire has become so closely associated with St. Andrew it is most commonly known as St. Andrew’s cross.

Early accounts of St. Andrew’s crucifixion describe him tied to a Latin cross, though by the Middle Ages, he is said to have been crucified on the crux decussata.  As Peter did not want to be crucified as Christ had been, tradition tells us St. Andrew requested a different mode, as well, the x-shaped cross, the very cross that has become the symbol of St. Andrew.

In 832, on the eve of a battle in East Lothian, in what is now Scotland, Oengus was leading an outnumbered band of Picts and Scots against a force of Angles.  Oengus prayed for divine intervention.  Oengus vowed if his forces could achieve a victory he would promise to make St. Andrew the Patron Saint of the Scots.  Oengus waited for a sign as the dawn rose the next morning.  In the morning sky he saw clouds gather and form a white saltire.  The battle ensued and though outnumbered, Oengus and his troops were victorious.

According to legend, Oengus was good to his word, not only is St. Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland but a white St. Andrew’s cross on a sky-blue background makes the Scottish flag, reminiscent of what Oengus saw that victorious morning.

St. Andrew’s feast Day is November 30.  He is the Patron Saint of fishermen, fishmongers, textile workers, miners, singers, pregnant women, butchers, rope-makers, and butchers.

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