Today is St. Andrew’s Day! Scotland is celebrating their patron saint. The bagpipers will be out in force, along with the haggis and tartans. And not only in Scotland. According to the official St. Andrew’s Day website, there are over 50 million people (of which I am one) around the world that claim Scottish descent.
St. Andrew’s narrative has come down through the centuries, well beyond the lifespan of a Galilean fisherman, a disciple of Jesus Christ and the brother of Saint Peter, founder of the Church. Martyred for his faith, his bones travelled from Greece to Constantinople to their final resting place at Amalfi in southern Italy. St. Andrew came to Scotland by way of a Greek monk, St. Rule (Regulus in Latin) who was given the vision of transporting a few of St. Andrew’s relics (a tooth, a kneecap, arm and finger bones) to the “ends of the earth,” which happened to be the coast of Fife, and the present day town of St. Andrews.
In 832 AD, a Pictish king, is said to have had a vision the night before a battle; the next day, a Saltire, an x-shaped cross, appeared in the sky above the battlefield. Not surprisingly, the Picts met with success. As time went on, the Saltire, the Saint Andrew’s Cross, was adopted as the national emblem and flag of the Scots. And in 1320, amidst political intrigue, St. Andrew was officially recognized as a patron saint of Scotland.
The St. Andrew’s Day celebration has become global, with Google marking the day with a Flying Scotsman Doodle. It seems, however, that St. Andrew generated international interest from the beginning. He is the patron saint of Greece, Russia, Romania and Barbados.
Even today, St. Andrew’s story continues to evolve as we look forward to 2015.
Happy St. Andrews Day!