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The story of St. Andrew’s legendary martyrdom


Sailko/Wikipedia | CC BY-SA 3.0

Philip Kosloski - published on 11/29/23

Few details are definitely known about the martyrdom of St. Andrew, but many legends help illustrate what might have happened.
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After the events of Pentecost many ancient traditions point to St. Andrew, Peter’s brother, as the Apostle to the Greeks.

It is believed that he preached to Greek communities and was martyred at Patras on a cross in the shape of an X. His relics were eventually transferred to the Duomo Cathedral in Amalfi, Italy.

The exact details of his martyrdom are not definitively known, but many legends have been passed down that help paint a picture of what might have happened.

Dom Prosper Guéranger relates in his Liturgical Year how St. Andrew, “traveled through Epirus and Thrace and by his teaching and miracles converted innumerable souls to Christ. Afterwards having reached Patræ in Achaia he persuaded many in that city to embrace the truth of the Gospel.

His activities, however, caught the attention of the proconsul of the city.

Finding that the Proconsul Ægeas resisted the preaching of the Gospel he most freely upbraided him, for that he who desired to be considered as a judge of men, should be so far deceived by devils as not to acknowledge Christ to be God the Judge of all.

Sentenced to death

This made the proconsul angry and, after a long and heated debate, he sentenced St. Andrew to death.

When St. Andrew was approaching the place of his martyrdom, he said the following words, saluting his cross, which was in the form of an X:

O good Cross, made beautiful by the body of my Lord! So long desired, so anxiously loved, so unceasingly sought after, and now at last ready for my soul to enjoy. Take me from amidst men and restore me to my Master, that by thee He may receive me who by thee redeemed me.

St. Andrew was then fastened to the cross with ropes and hung there for two days before he died.

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