We learn almost nothing about Andrew from the synoptic Gospels, but he plays a more prominent role in John’s Gospel. There he appears as a disciple of John the Baptist. He and another disciple see Jesus as the fulfilment of John’s prophetic ministry, and decide to follow Jesus instead of John (John 1:35-40). It is Andrew who then effects the introduction to Jesus of his brother Simon Peter (John 1:4f). This story in fact makes intelligible the acceptance of Jesus’ call by these brothers and their fishing partners, the sons of Zebedee, in the synoptic tradition (Matthew 4:18-22), which is otherwise not explained.
Later, Andrew is found associated with another apostle from Bethsaida, Philip. When Jesus tests the disciples by challenging them with the hunger of the multitude, Philip asserts that they could not afford the amount of bread that would be needed. Andrew adds: "What use are a few loaves and a couple of fish?" (John 6:5-9), but he nevertheless brings the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus for the feeding of the multitude. Later in John’s Gospel, at the feast in Jerusalem, some Greeks who want to see Jesus approach Philip, and Philip consults his fellow townsman, Andrew, who tells Jesus of the request (John 12:20-22).
As one of the first two to follow Jesus, and also as a kind of bridge with the Gentile world, Andrew is an appropriately missionary apostle. Apart from Andrew’s inclusion among the four who ask Jesus about signs of the end (Mark 13:3), and the listing of his name among the Twelve, the Synoptic Gospels add no further information about him.
Eusebius in his Church History quoted Origen as saying that Andrew preached in Scythia. The Chronicle of Nestor adds that he preached along the Black Sea and the Dnieper river as far as Kiev, and from there he travelled to Novgorod. Hence, he became a patron saint of Ukraine, Romania and Russia. According to Hippolytus of Rome, Andrew preached in Thrace, and his presence in Byzantium is mentioned in the apocryphal Acts of Andrew. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium (later Constantinople and Istanbul) in AD 38, installing Stachys as bishop. This diocese would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Andrew, along with Saint Stachys, is recognized as the patron saint of the Patriarchate. Basil of Seleucia also knew of Apostle Andrew's missions in Thrace, Scythia and Achaea.
Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras in Achaea, in AD 60. Early texts, such as the Acts of Andrew known to Gregory of Tours, describe Andrew as bound, not nailed, to a Latin cross of the kind on which Jesus is said to have been crucified; yet a tradition developed that Andrew had been crucified on a cross of the form called crux decussata (X-shaped cross), now commonly known as a "Saint Andrew's Cross" — supposedly at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus had been.
Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, on account of the legend of the translation of his relics there in the eighth century. Several legends state that these were brought by divine guidance from Constantinople to the place where the modern Scottish town of St Andrews stands today. The oldest surviving manuscripts are two: one is among the manuscripts collected by Jean-Baptiste Colbert and willed to Louis XIV of France, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; the other is the Harleian Mss in the British Library, London. They state that the relics of Andrew were brought by one Regulus to the Pictish king Óengus mac Fergusa (729–761). The only historical Regulus (Riagail or Rule) whose name is preserved in the tower of St Rule was an Irish monk expelled from Ireland with Saint Columba; his dates, however, are c. 573 – 600. There are good reasons for supposing that the relics were originally in the collection of Acca, bishop of Hexham, who took them into Pictish country when he was driven from Hexham (c. 732), and founded a see, not, according to tradition, in Galloway, but on the site of St Andrews.
According legendary accounts given in 16th-century historiography, Óengus II in AD 832 led an army of Picts and Scots into battle against the Angles, led by Æthelstan, near modern-day Athelstaneford, East Lothian. The legend states that he was heavily outnumbered and hence whilst engaged in prayer on the eve of battle, Óengus vowed that if granted victory he would appoint Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland. On the morning of battle white clouds forming an X shape in the sky were said to have appeared. Óengus and his combined force, emboldened by this apparent divine intervention, took to the field and despite being inferior in numbers were victorious. Having interpreted the cloud phenomenon as representing the crux decussata upon which Saint Andrew was crucified, Óengus honoured his pre-battle pledge and duly appointed Saint Andrew as the Patron Saint of Scotland. The white saltire set against a celestial blue background is said to have been adopted as the design of the flag of Scotland on the basis of this legend.
St Clement is recognized as a saint in many Christian churches and is considered a patron saint of mariners.
We know from the New Testament of some of the troubles that Paul had with the church in Corinth. The church there suffered from further troubles towards the end of the first century, and the church in Rome wrote to Corinth about 96 in an effort to resolve the issue. The letter known as 1 Clement was sent by Clement in the name of the church in Rome.
Clement by later tradition is reckoned as the third or fourth bishop of Rome. At that time, on evidence from 1 Clement, the church in Rome appears to have been controlled by a group of presbyter-bishops, for whom Clement was the spokesman. Church order as it later developed with a single bishop in each centre was not yet the norm in Rome. Other than his position as a bishop in Rome, we know almost nothing about Clement.
The actual trouble in Corinth concerned a group of young Christian leaders who had usurped the proper position of the respected elders of the community. Clement writes at some length in an effort to restore peace in the church. The letter is much more than a call to order in the Church in Corinth. Clement sets out a picture of the church as an orderly body under God, with authority vested in the duly appointed leaders. Variously designated “bishops” or “pres-byters”, they are the ones who are to lead the worship and preside over the church’s life. The attitude of the younger members of the church in Corinth is, therefore, not just a problem of youthful exuberance, but a challenge to the duly ordained divine order of things.
The first letter of Clement was widely read in the early church, giving as it did very clear support to a hierarchical view of things at a time when the church was searching for appropriate lines of authority to combat some of the more radical views springing up. Some ancient manuscripts include 1 Clement as part of the New Testament, along with 2 Clement, which is an anonymous second century homily.
According to tradition, Clement was imprisoned under the Emperor Trajan; during this time he is recorded to have led a ministry among fellow prisoners. Thereafter he was executed by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea.
Image: By Fungai - Painting, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5515029
‘I am,’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.'”
Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898. By the time he received a scholarship to Oxford in 1916 Lewis had developed a fascination with mythology. The First World War intruded on his studies. He served in the army and was wounded. Lewis graduated with first class honours, and by 1925 became a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, a position he held until 1954 when be became Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge. In Oxford he developed a reputation both as a tutor and writer on late medieval literature and as one of a group of widely read and entertaining conversationalists and writers. A particular group of friends know as the “Inklings” included J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams.
By 1930 Lewis was beginning to explore Christianity again. He had abandoned any Christian faith in his early teens. However, his continuing interest in mythology and fantasy brought him in contact with George MacDonald a writer of Christian fantasies. He talked things over with Tolkien, a devout Roman Catholic, and others. That and reading The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton, a convert to Roman Catholicism, eventually persuaded Lewis to abandon his atheism. By 1931 Lewis was an active member of the Church of England.
From that point on, in addition to his academic work on medieval and renaissance literature, Lewis’s considerable skills were used for the work of Christian apologetic. His experience with myth, story-telling and allegory, together with his new-found Christian faith and his considerable ability as a writer and communicator made him one of the most popular defenders of the Christian faith in the twentieth century.
His best known works are probably his series of seven novels written for children, “The Chronicles of Narnia”, published between 1948 and 1956. The fictional land of Narnia, entered through a wardrobe, provides a setting for exploring various Christian themes, though Lewis never saw this as a covert way of communicating Christian teaching to children. An earlier series (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength), had offered adults an imaginative exploration of the human condition, set in a science fiction world.
Lewis’s best known specifically apologetic works arose out of a series of articles he wrote and talks he gave, many of them during the Second World War. The Screwtape Letters (1942) used the idea of letters from a senior devil (Screwtape) to a younger one on techniques that are useful in deceiving humans. Many of the talks given on the BBC were drawn together in Lewis’s highly influential and very popular Mere Christianity (1952). Some later talks appeared posthumously as God in the Dock (1971).
Two autobiographical works were also apologetic in nature. In Surprised by Joy (1955), Lewis tells of his own journey to and in Christianity, and in A Grief Observed (1961) he offers a moving insight into the emotional journey associated with the death of a loved one. It has been widely read and appreciated by others. The circumstances of the book were personal to Lewis. In 1952 he met Joy Gresham, an American teacher of English literature of Jewish background who had converted to Christianity. After her divorce in 1954, she was faced with having to return to the USA, but Lewis offered her a marriage of convenience so she could stay in Britain. The relationship blossomed into a deep love, but in 1960 she died of cancer. It was these events he wrote of in the book. Lewis himself died three years later on the 22nd of November 1963.
St Cecilia is best known as the patron saint of music, and is commemorated mainly for that reason. This association dates from the sixteenth century, and seems to stem from the use of part of the legend of Cecilia as an antiphon, with a reference in it to organs playing at her wedding feast while Cecilia sang of her purity.
Despite the fact that Cecilia came to be one of the most revered saints of the early church, we know almost nothing about her. Even her popularity stems in the main from the colourful story told in the completely unhistorical legends written about her at the end of the fifth century.
According to the legend Cecilia was a young patrician Roman, betrothed to a pagan, Valerian. She refused to consummate her marriage, and both her husband and his brother Tibertius were converted to Christianity and then died as martyrs along with another man, Maximus. Cecilia herself was then arrested and, refusing to offer the sacrifices demanded, was put to death. This is supposed to have taken place some time in the third century, but Christian writers of the time who show an interest in the Christian martyrs know nothing of her at all. Ironically, Valerian, Tibertius, and Maximus are known historical martyrs, but their association with Cecilia is unknown apart from the legend. Many Christian legends are embellishments of historical characters, and it is possible that the history lying behind the story of Cecilia concerns the founding of a church in the Trastevere district of Rome by a Roman matron named Cecilia.
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