Andrew and his brother Peter were fisherman from the town of Bethsaida, on Lake Galilee in northern Israel. Andrew is known as the “First-Called,” and became one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. Shortly after Pentecost in 30, tradition tells us that Andrew left Jerusalem on a long mission journey. However, the exact geographical order of his journey is not clear and is difficult to reconstruct with certainty.
It is believed that Andrew ministered in the city of Byzantium (Istanbul), and became its first bishop around 38. He also apparently ministered through the region of Thrace in northwest Turkey. According to early church historian Eusebius, Andrew traveled along the Black Sea coast as far as the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea into the regions of Ukraine, Georgia, and Russia. Today, Andrew is the patron saint of Russia. It is possible that he traveled south in Asia Minor and ministered for some time in and around Ephesus before going to Greece. Around 69, Andrew was apparently martyred in the city of Patras, in western Greece.
The Acts of Andrew tells us that he was crucified on a X-shaped cross because he refused to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus. This X-shaped cross is know today as “Saint Andrew’s Cross.” Around 357, the emperor Constantius II transferred Andrew’s physical remains to Constantinople’s Church of the Holy Apostles. It is believed that some of Andrew’s bones were also taken to Scotland in the 300s or 400s, and were buried at a place that became known as St. Andrews. Today, Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, whose flag displays Andrew’s Cross.