By Bishop Grigorios of Mesaoria
The Orthodox Church commemorates today Saint Andrew the First-Called. According to the Orthodox Hymnology, he was a wise, pious, and righteous preacher of Christianity.
He was the son of Jonah and brother of Apostle Peter. He was a fisherman from Bethsaida in Galilee and he wanted to see the prophecies about the salvation of the world to come true. It was this very desire that urged him to become a disciple of John the Baptist whose testimony first led him to follow Jesus who gave him the name “First-Called”.
Tradition has it that during his mission, a ship transported Apostle Andrew to the north-easternmost point of the island of Cyprus. There, after praying to the Lord, he found miraculous healing water and healed the captain’s blind child. He is considered wonderworker and protector of the island by the Cypriots.
After preaching in Pontus, Scythia, Byzantium, and Greece, Saint Andrew reached Achaia, where he converted many people to Christianity and performed many miracles. He was crucified in Patras, where his skull (part of the top of the cranium) is kept in the Church of St. Andrew.
The moving story of Apostle Andrew the First-Called is one of the favourite of the Christians of Cyprus. The Apostolos Andreas Monastery in the Karpass Peninsula is a symbol of resistance to Turkish occupation as well as a symbol of liberty.