Monday, November 29, 2010

The Holy and Illustrious Apostle Andrew, the First-Called

Andrew was the brother of Peter and a disciple of John the Baptist. Born in Bethsaida of Galilee, he brought his brother Peter to the Lord. After the resurrection, he preached the Gospel in Byzantium, Thrace, Russia, the Black Sea, Epirus, and the Peloponnese. He is believed to have been the first bishop of Byzantium or Constantinople. Tradition says that he was crucified in Patras, Greece, in 62 A.D. Pope Paul VI returned his relics to Constantinople from the Vatican in 1964.
Life’s defining moments …
Every person’s life is filled with significant milestones. We commemorate birthdays and anniversaries with great fanfare and revelry. We fondly remember many of the ‘firsts’ that we experience: our first date … our first car … our first day of school … our first job. Yes, these are moments and events that we all treasure greatly.
But have you ever thought about what the most important moment – that special moment that has truly defined your entire existence – has been for you? Many of us would, no doubt, have a difficult time coming up with an answer to that question. This would not, however, have been the case for the Apostle Andrew, who is depicted in the accompanying icons. For him, the “defining moment” of his life as his first encounter with Christ.
The Gospel of St. John relates the exact time of day (the 10th hour, or 4 pm) when Andrew shared his first conversation with the Man Who would change his life – and change the world as well. Undoubtedly they spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, and what must be done to gain entrance into it. Surely they spoke of God’s love for mankind, and how we are expected to serve He Who loves us so much. What an impression that moment made on Andrew! From that moment on, he was willing to put aside his old life and embark upon a new life with the Lord. Indeed, that moment became so engrained in his heart and upon his soul that Andrew would later willingly die for the One he would affectionately call “Master.”
Perhaps we have not had such a dramatic encounter with Christ. Nevertheless, as His followers, our lives must be defined by our relationship with Him. Anything else pales in comparison and importance.
Orthodox Weekly Bulletin … Cliffwood, Vestal, New Jersey

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