> And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and **Andrew** his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men [ἁλιείς ἀνθρώπων] — [Matthew 4:18-19](http://bible.cc/matthew/4-18.htm)
“Andrew” (Ανδρέας) means “strong” or “manly” from the Greek “ανδρεία”. He was born in [Bethsaida](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethsaida) and, at the time of Jesus’ teaching lived with Simon in [Capernaum](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capernaum) on the shores of the sea of Galilee where they worked as fishermen. Palestine had been under Greek rule (of [one kind](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptolemaic_dynasty) or [another](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seleucid_dynasty)) since Alexander and remained part of [Hellenistic culture](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_civilization) through the [Maccabean revolution](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maccabee) and Roman domination, so Greek names were very common.
He is known in the Eastern tradition as “Protokletos” or “first-called”. He and John the Evangelist are the first followers of John the Baptist to follow the teaching of Jesus (possibly after the Baptist is jailed). He is counted among the “first four” (Peter, Andrew, James and John) who have seniority among the twelve apostles. [GoJohn tells us](http://bible.cc/john/1-41.htm) that after hearing Jesus’ teaching Andrew immediately found his brother Peter and told him “We have found the Messias”.
> After Andrew had stayed with Jesus and had learned much from him, he did not keep this treasure to himself, but hastened to share it with his brother Peter. Notice what Andrew said to him: “We have found the Messiah, that is to say, the Christ.” Notice how his words reveal what he has learned in so short a time. They show the power of the master who has convinced them of this truth. Andrew’s words reveal a soul waiting with the utmost longing for the coming of the Messiah, looking forward to his appearing from heaven, rejoicing when he does appear, and hastening to announce so great an event to others. To support one another in the things of the spirit is the true sign of good will between brothers, loving kinship and sincere affection. — from [Homily 19 on the Gospel of John](http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/240119.htm) by [Saint John Chrysostom](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Chrysostom)
The Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles say next to nothing about Andrew. Tradition, especially in the Eastern Orthodox churches, maintain that Andrew’s apostolic activity ranged across Asia Minor, Greece and especially Constantinople. He is remembered as an eloquent and gifted evangelist, setting up churches in “Pontos, Bithynia, Thrace, Macedonia, Greece, Scythia (Russia, where he is still regarded as patron saint) and in the capital city of Byzantium. It was in Byzantium that St. Andrew ordained Stachys as first bishop of Byzantium (later Constantinople), thereby establishing an unbroken line of 270 patriarchs down to the present day Patriarch Bartholomeos 1st.” .
His prowess as an evangelist was to prove his undoing. He eventually (tradition tells us) wound up, at the age of 80 during the reign of Nero, in [Patras](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patras#Saint_Andrew) in Greece where he successfully founded a church and converted a woman called Maximilla (not [the noted Montanist prophet](http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10521a.htm)). Her husband Ægeates, the provincial ruler, took exception to his wife’s conversion had Andrew arrested and sentenced to death. Their argument is retold in the apocryphal [“Acts and Martyrdom of Andrew”](http://www.gnosis.org/library/actand2.htm).
Andrew was crucified on a “saltire” or “decussate” cross (now usually referred to as a St Andrew’s cross), possibly upside down, possibly by being tied, rather than nailed to it, though tradition varies on the details. He is said to have lasted three days before expiring, legend has it that he kept teaching for the first two.
That’s pretty manly.
His relics were moved about from Constantinople to Rome to Scotland, where the [home of golf](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Andrews) is named after him. He’s the [patron of various places](http://www.catholic-forum.com/SAINTS/sainta12.htm) (including Scotland and the diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan), fishermen, gout, sore throats, singers and spinsters. He is remembered on November 30. His major shrine is at St Andreas in Patras.
His various adventures and miracles are recounted in a variety of non-canonical books — [The Acts of Andrew](http://www.gnosis.org/library/actandy.htm), [The Acts and Martyrdom of Andrew](http://www.gnosis.org/library/actand2.htm), [The Acts of Andrew and Matthew](http://www.gnosis.org/library/actanm.htm), [The Acts of Peter and Andrew
](http://www.gnosis.org/library/actpna.htm) full of roaring tales of cannibals and magic tricks.
Andrew is the prototypical teacher; as John Chrysostom observes, no sooner has he come to know Jesus and his teaching than he wants to pass on his knowledge. He carries that passion to teach from the place of his birth to the far lands where he dies. He is the great adventurer-sage of the Christian tradition — a kind of Indiana Jones of the Gospel.
What does he say to Gnostics in the 21st century? Note that Andrew’s story starts on the sea of Galilee, as a fisherman. He faces those great depths daily, living from its grace and never straying far from its shores. When he become inspired by the teaching of Jesus, he is moved to share it and that mission to teach takes him far away from his home.
We all have our natural home in the Bythos — the profound depth that is the primal ground of our being. When we first come to γνώσις of the Hidden Mother-Father, it is tempting to rest there, in bliss, living purely in harmony, in silence. But, while pleasant, that is not what the Logos asks of us. Xristos Soter asks, demands, that we move onward beyond γνώσις, not merely resting, but teaching, healing, baptising — sharing our bliss with others, helping them find it for themselves.
When Andrew comes to understand Christ’s demand, he was the first of the apostles to turn completely from his simple life and dedicate himself to this demanding life lived for others.
1. [“St Andrew the Apostle, the First-Called” Greek Orthodox Archidiocese of Australia](http://home.it.net.au/~jgrapsas/pages/St_Andrew.htm))
Part of the Twelve Apostles series.
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