Home » Early Church » What Ever Happened to The Apostles? – Saint Andrew

What Ever Happened to The Apostles? – Saint Andrew


 Saint Andrew


While the brother of Andrew is well known as Simon Peter, it could be noted that the NT also records the name of their father, as John (John 1.42; 21.15-17).[1] His home town is also recorded as Bethsaida of Galilee, along with Philip the Apostle (John 1.44).[2] Tradition fills in the name of Andrew’s mother as Joanna, and the apocrypha literature says he came from the tribe of Reuben.[3]

The New Testament

The New Testament indicates that Andrew was the brother of Peter and while not a member of the “inner band of three” there are several different events recorded of him.[4] From the NT account, we see that prior to following Jesus, Andrew had been a disciple of the Baptist and the reason behind Peter’s meeting with Jesus.[5]

John’s gospels relates that upon hearing his former master, call Jesus the Lamb of God, Andrew is said to have sought Jesus and heard him teach, and following this brought his brother to meet Christ (John 1.35-42). It should be noted that John’s gospels, gives the impression that Andrew was the first disciple that Jesus called.[6]

The Synoptics relate a second calling of Andrew and Peter, where Jesus called them to leave (Mark 1.16-18; Matt 4.17f).[7]

His participation in Jesus’ ministry includes his bring the boy with the loaves and fishes to feed the five thousands (John 6.8) as well as Philip and him bringing some Greek seeking Christ to him, (John 12.22).[8] Finally, Andrew was only of the disciples that questioned Jesus concerning the end of the age (Mark 13.3-23; Matt. 24.3-28; Luke 21.4-24).[9]

Post NT

Various early so-called apocryphal works, contribute little to the picture and traditions of Andrew. In the works the Gospel of Ebionites, the Gospel of Peter, Epistula Apostolorum, and Pistis Sophia Andrew appears “little more than Peter’s shadow and Jesus’ occasional interlocutor.”[10]

The patristic traditions give a little more information, but not much. According to Eusebius (quoting Origen), Andrew apostolic journey took him to Scythia.[11] See Eusebius HE, 3.1.1

However, the patristic tradition gives an indication of other areas where Andrew might have worked such as “Achaia, Epirus, or ‘Greece.’”[12] [13] The Muratorian Fragament also appears to say that Andrew instructed John that he should write the fourth gospel.[14] This document also connects Andrew with the writing of the fourth gospel.[15]

Later Traditions in the West (Post 500)

The Traditions concerning Andrew, “Beginning with Gregory of Tours… Venatius Fortunatus … and Isidor of Sevilla… reached a fixed and permanent form. The apparent source is Gregory.”[16] Gregory of Tour’s source appears to have been apocryphal Acts of Andrew, “one of the five major apocryphal Acts of the Apostles,” but a work that has not survived intact.[17]

These traditions, say that Andrew began a mission in Scythia, but later went to Achaia, where he met his death, via crucifixion, under the roman official Aegeas.[18] Of this, the mission to Scythia, is noted already to have been found within earlier literature, specifically, Eusebius and the Acts of Andrew and Matthias.[19] His death at Patrae in Achaia is also common feature of Lists of Twelve and liturgical formulas.[20]

Acts of Andrew

An important apocryphal work, which purports to be account of Andrew on his missionary journeys. Hopefully I’ll have a blog on this later

Later Traditions in the East (Post 500)

With the rivalry between the Eastern and Western centers of Christianity began to heat up, Andrew’s apostolic ministry became highlighted once again.[21] Andrew soon became, the founder of the church in Byzantium, who was seen a perfect fit. After all, according to John’s gospel, Andrew was not only the first of the apostles that came to Jesus, but he also brought Peter to Christ.[22] This would have indeed been a subtle slap in Roman Church’s face.

Some of the traditions, and in particular what appears in the Acts of Andrew, he worked “in the region o the Black Sea,” and in fact appears to have gone to Byzantium.[23] Soon enough in the Eastern Church, Andrew’s importance grew as he was soon associated with beginning a Byzantine unbroken line of bishops beginning with Stachys (note Romans 16.9) and also having help to founded a church in every tribe around the Black Sea.[24]

Andrew’s appointment of Stachy’s as the first bishop of Byzantium appears to come from Pseudo-Epiphanios.[25] Other Eastern Christians on Andrew usually follow his pattern and stress, Andrew having selected the first bishop of Byzantine.[26]

Peterson translates the relevant passage of Pseudo-Epiphanios as:

“Andrew, however, his (Peter’s) brother, as they have handed down the tradition to us, preached to the Scythians and Sogdianians and the Gorsinians and in great Sevastopol, where is the castle Apsaros and Lake Hyssos and the River Phasis. From there (he went to where) the Ethiopians dwell, but is buried in Patrae of Achaia, having been tied to a cross by Aegaeas … Stachys whom Paul mentioned in the same Epistle (Romans 16:9) was appointed first bishop of Byzantium by Andrew the Apostle in Argyopolis of Thrace….. Philogos, whom also Paul mentioned (v.15) was made bishop of Sinope by Andrew.”[27]

[1] C.M. Kerr, “Andrew,” in ISBE, 1:122

[2] Kerr, “Andrew,” 1:122

[3] Kerr, “Andrew,” 1:122

[4] ODCC, s.v. “Andrew, St.”

[5] M.J. Wilkins, “Disciples,” DJD, (Downers Grover, Ill: Intervaristy Press, 1992), 179.

[6]  Dennis R. MacDonald, “Andrew (Person)” (New York: Doubleday, 1992), ABD 1:242.

[7] Kerr, 1:122

[8] Wilkins, “Disciples,” 179.

[9] Kerr, 1:122

[10] MacDonald, “Andrew (Person),” 1:243.

[11] ODCC, s.v. “Andrew, St.”

[12] Peterson, 12.

[13] See Philastrius (de Haeresibus, Ch. 88), Gregory of Nazianus: Achaia (Oratio 33, 4), Athanasias: Greece (Homily in PG 28 pp.1101-8), Jerome: Greece (Letter to Marcellus), Evodius, and Theodoretus: Greece (Commentary on Psalm 116).

[14] MacDonald, “Andrew (Person),” 1:243.

[15] ODCC, s.v. “Andrew, St.”

[16] Peterson, 14.

[17] MacDonald, “Andrew (Person),” 1:243.

[18] Peterson, 16.

[19] Peterson, 16.

[20] Peterson, 16

[21] MacDonald, “Andrew (Person),” 1:243.

[22] MacDonald, “Andrew (Person),” 1:243.

[23] MacDonald, “Andrew (Person),” 1:243.

[24] MacDonald, “Andrew (Person),” 1:243.

[25] Peterson, 18.

[26] Peterson, does list other Orthodox writers and quotes a little in his work, pp. 18-20.

[27] Peterson, 18.


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