November 30, 2015

Synaxarion of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called

On the thirtieth day of the month [November], we commemorate the Holy glorious and all-praised Apostle Andrew the First-Called


Andrew bears crucifixion inverted,
Appearing truly and not as a shadow with feet upwards.
On the thirtieth Andrew the First-Called endured the cross.

Andrew was from the city of Bethsaida, the son of Jonah, and brother of Peter the Apostle. He was the first disciple of John the great Forerunner and Baptist. Later, when he heard his Teacher say, while pointing to Jesus Christ, "Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world," he left the Forerunner and followed Christ. And to his brother the Pre-eminent Peter he said, "We have found the Messiah." With these words he drew Peter towards spiritual eros for Christ. And there are many other things that are found in the divinely-inspired Scriptures regarding this Apostle.

With the other Apostles, he was chosen by lot to go to other places of the inhabited world. After the Ascension of the Lord the First-Called was chosen to go to Bithynia, the Black Sea and the places of the Propontis: namely from the Sea of Marmara till the Black Sea. He was also chosen for Chalcedon and Byzantium: namely Constantinople. He also went to Thrace and Macedonia all the way to the River Danube. With these were included Thessaly and Greece all the way till Achaia: namely the area of the Morea, which is between Vasilika and Gastouni. Also Amisus, which is also called Samsun and Emid, and Trebizond, and Heraclea, and Amastris, which was first known as Sisamus.

The Apostle did not pass through these cities and regions quickly, as well as his words. No! but in every city the blessed one was tried by many setbacks. And he responded to many difficult situations. But everywhere he found God's help and strength, and with this he conquered all, and was above all hindrance. Of the cities mentioned above, I only want to remember one here, and leave the rest.

When this divine Apostle went to the city of Sinope, and preached there the word of the gospel, he underwent much torment and suffering by the residents there. For these wild people cast him down to the ground, and taking him by his hands and feet they pulled at him, and with claws they tore at him. They beat him with clubs and struck him with stones and cast him out of the city, and with the claws they cut off one of his fingers. After all this the divine Apostle was found again to be healthy and whole through Christ his Teacher.

From Sinope he passed through many cities, such as Neocaesarea, Samosata, commonly known as Sempsat, to the Alani and Abasgians, who are in Crimea, the Circassians, the Bosporites, namely those who lived in the Cimmerian Bosporus, and the Chersonites. Then he returned again to Byzantium, where he ordained Stachys as Bishop. Passing through many lands he entered the notorious Peloponnese: namely Morea. And being hosted by a man named Sosion in Old Patras, he healed there many who were sick. Immediately after the entire city of Patras believed in Christ, together with the wise Stratocles and the brother of the proconsul. And many others who suffered from various illnesses became healthy with the laying on of hands of the Apostle.

When the proconsul Aegeates learned of all this, he became enraged. Capturing the Apostle of the Lord, he had him crucified upside down. For this reason the unjust one received justice according to God's vengeance, having fallen to the earth from a high place, and being crushed the wicked one died wickedly. The relic of the Apostle was later brought to Constantinople by order of Emperor Constantius, the son of Constantine the Great, which was transferred by Artemios the grand duke and Martyr, who is celebrated on October 20th. And it was placed with the relics of the Evangelist Luke and the Apostle Timothy, in the famous Temple of the Holy Apostles. The placing of his relics is celebrated on July 20th.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
As the first-called of the Apostles and brother of their leader, O Andrew, entreat the Master of all, that peace be granted unto the world and great mercy to our souls.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Let us acclaim the divine herald, who is a namesake of courage, the first-called of the Savior's disciples, and the kinsman of Peter; for, as of old He called him, so now he calls us: "Come, we have found the Desired One!"

Of the apostolic choir of the Lord you were the first, O blessed one, to be called and to follow Him. With your holy brother, O Andrew, you did leave all to preach Christ to all nations, that all may praise His name.