In the Spotlight: the St. Andrew Cross

St Andrew CrossThough simple in design, Gallery Byzantium’s St. Andrew Cross is a quintessential Orthodox cross design.

Originally a Byzantine cross, the three-bar cross was later adopted by the Russian Orthodox Church.  The three-bar cross appears with great frequency in Slavic religious symbolism. Tradition teaches that when the Apostle Andrew preached in southern Russia he placed a life-size three-bar cross at his side. While explaining the Last Judgment he tilted the foot plate to signify that those on the right side of Christ will go up into heaven and those on the left will go down into hell.

The Life of St. Andrew

St. Andrew was born in Bethsaida and was a fisherman by trade along with his brother, the Apostle Peter. “When the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John began to preach, Saint Andrew became his closest disciple. Declaring Christ to be the Lamb of God, Saint John the Baptist himself sent to Christ his own two disciples, the future Apostles Andrew and John the Theologian.”

By early Byzantine tradition, St. Andrew was the first called.  He traveled throughout Asia Minor, Thrace, and Macedonia preaching the God’s word.  He eventually reached the coast of the Black Sea and, standing along the River Dneiper, said to his fellow disciples: ““See these hills? Upon these hills shall shine forth the beneficence of God, and there will be a great city here, and God shall raise up many churches.”” The spot upon which he stood would eventually become the city of Kiev.

“St. Andrew was martyred in Peloponnese, in the city of Patras.” He was crucified, but his converts and followers wanted him removed from the cross.  St. Andrew, however, would not allow them to.  “Instead, he comforted them from the cross and as he prayed an extraordinary light encompassed him for about a half hour. When it left, he gave up his soul.”

St. Andrew is commemorated on November 30th.  He is the patron saint of many countries, including Romania, Russia, and Scotland.

Main image (center) – Photo by MrPanyGoff. Via Wikimedia Commons.
Apostle Andrew, the Holy and All-Praised First-Called –
Apostle Andrew –
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