year I am adapting a post about his relics and depiction in art from
John Dillon on the Medieval Religion discussion group for today. With
regard to images I have concentrated on the western depictions of St
Andrew, and will publish them in a seperate post.
According to Eusebius, St Andrew preached in Scythia, by which latter quite
possibly is meant the Roman province of this name erected by Diocletian
in today's south-eastern Romania and north-eastern Bulgaria (Ukrainians
and Russians think otherwise, of course). Theodoret has Andrew preaching in
Greece. From at least the fourth century onward it has been believed
that he suffered martyrdom at Patras.
As will be seen there are
several skulls claimed to be his - probably more than even the
explanation of skull fragments that have been scattered and venerated as
if they were the whole relic.
In 357 relics venerated as
Andrew's were brought from Patras to Constantinople's church of the Holy
Apostles. Scots believe that in the eighth century St. Regulus
(Rule) brought (some of ?) Andrew's relics from Constantinople to today's St Andrews in
Fife. Two illustrated pages on the St Rule Tower and the ruins of St
Andrews cathedral at St Andrews can be read here
1208 Andrew's remains were brought, following the Fourth Crusadw of
Constantinople to Amalfi, where they are now housed in the cathedral
dedicated to him. Then, in the 1460s the Despot of Morea, Thomas
Palaeologus, brought with him into exile in Italy a head said to be
that of St.
Andrew. Pope Pius II acquired it for the Roman church and,
seizing upon this capital opportunity, use it as a propaganda device
for his projected crusade against the Turks;
Cardinal Bessarion delivered a welcoming speech to this relic of Andrew
in the apostle's
partial presence in 1462. In 1964 Pope Paul VI returned this relic, plus
a finger bone from Andrew's relics in
Amalfi, to the Greek Orthodox church in Patras as part of his search for
reconciliation with the Orthodox.
opening page of Pope Pius II's account of St Andrew's reception in
(with an illuminated initial showing Pope Pius holding a bust or the
reliquary of St Andrew) in a contemporary (1463-1464) collection of
writings by this
(Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 5565 A, fol. 1r):
Image; Biblioteque National Paris
The skull reliquary at Patras
The upper part of a skull is among St Andrew's putative relics at Amalfi. Some views
of it taken when it was on display at Sant'Andrea della Valle in Rome
in 2008 for the 800th anniversary of his translation to Amalfi can, hopefully, be seen in these expanded views here, here, here and here.
right foot is said to be in the monastery of Agios Andreas on
Kefalonia. Other relics believed to be his are in the skete of St.
Andrew on Mount Athos, a Russian foundation honouring one of that country's
patron saints. Here is a view of a reliquary belonging to that monastery
and said to contain Andrew's skull:
The Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos has what is described as a relic of Andrew's right hand:
From at least 1250 until 1979, when it was transferred to the church at
Patras, a cross believed to be that of St Andrew was preserved in the church
of St. Victor at Marseilles.
Trier there is this reliquary of one of St Andrew's sandals:
St. Andrew's Portable Altar, made c.980 AD in
This reliquary enshrines a sole of St. Andrew
the Apostle's sandal. This relic is one of those said to have been
brought from the Holy Land to Trier by Empress Helena in the 4th
century. The splendid reliquary was commissioned by Archbishop Egbert
(977-93), who had a special devotion to Saint Andrew.
It is described as portable altar, but I am not clear how it could have served that purpose. It consists of an oak box covered in gold and ivory and
topped with a gilded model of the saint's foot, complete with bejewelled
sandal strap. It has a sliding lid so that the relics inside could be
shown and touched. The long sides are fixed with smooth ivory plates
affixed with gold lions and enamel medallions of the Four Evangelists.
The plates are surrounded by bands of enamel platelets, gemstones, and
pearls. One of the short ends has two Saint Andrew's crosses made of
pearls; the other end has a gold coin with the portrait of Emperor
Justinian I surrounded by pearls and red garnet. The reliquary was made
to be portable, so that it could be carried by kings and bishops when
they travelled and used for Mass when they were at home. There are
rings on the lion-shaped feet and on the top, allowing the portable
altar to be hung or carried in processions.