November 30, 2010

The Cathedral of the Holy Apostle Andrew in Patras

At the location of the Apostle Andrew's martyrdom in Patras, Greece are two churches. The older church is built over the actual spot of his martyrdom and was founded as seen today between 1836 and 1843. Inside is the marble tomb of the Apostle Andrew in which his relics were placed, though in the 4th century his relics were transferred to Constantinople by Emperor Constantius and eventually ended up in Rome. On 26 September 1964 the Vatican returned the skull of the Apostle Andrew together with a finger to the people of Patras as a gesture of ecumenical good will. The newer more majestic church was built in a more Roman/Byzantine style and was initially founded in 1908 by King George I and dedicated in 1974 by Metropolitan Nikodemos of Patras. The latter is the largest Orthodox church in the Balkans and one of the largest in all of Europe. The central dome is 46 meters in height on top of which is a Cross made of pure gold surrounded with 12 other Crosses in honor of the twelve disciples. The new church can hold 5,500 people.

Next to the older church is the well and cave of the Apostle Andrew. This well at first was dedicated to Demeter, but now contains Holy Water sanctified by the Apostle. It was here that Saint Andrew would preach and it was inside this cave in which the original X-shaped cross of the Apostle Andrew was later found.

The videos below were shot by my sister Vaso, and also feature my niece Christiana and parents Panagiotis and Panagiota. In the first video are inside shots of the newer church during a Divine Liturgy in the summer of 2009. It features shots of the skull and X-shaped cross being venerated by the faithful. The second video has my family walking from the new church, passed the old church (which was closed), to the well and cave of St. Andrew. My father narrates some of his memories, since he was born and raised in Patras and was present at the joyous parade of 26 September 1964 when the relics of St. Andrew were returned. The photos are mainly personal photos owned by me.

Read also: The Translation of the Honorable Skull of the First-Called Apostle Andrew