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Russian Orthodox Church celebrates St. Andrew the First-Called Day

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Russian Orthodox Church celebrates St. Andrew the First-Called Day


pravoslavie.ruOrthodox believers commemorate St. Andrew the First – Called Apostle today. St. Andrew’s day has become a countrywide holiday in Russia. Despite it is a religious holiday, it is deeply connected to folk traditions.

The commemoration of St. Andrew has always been very solemn in Russia. The most prestigious military order bears St. Andrew’s name. Besides, the official flag of Russian fleet is called after St. Andrew too.

St. Andrew’s Day was called Day of Winter’s Andrew in Ancient Rus. At that day, young women read fortunes for their future husbands. It was a kind of rehearsal of Christmas fortunetelling. People listened to the water in wells, lakes and rivers. If the water stands still, it forecasts warm winter without snowstorms. If the water bumbles and buzzes, it is a forecast of severe frosts and unfortunate year.
Apostle Andrew before he was called by Jesus, was fishing together with his brother Simon (Peter) at the lake of Gennesaret, but left fishing to follow Christ. After Jesus’s death, and resurrection, which he personally witnessed, he returned to Jerusalem and, full of Holy Spirit, started preaching the Word of God on the territory of the Roman Empire. St. Andrew travelled to Macedonia, Scythia and Rome.

Andrew’s prayers worked wonders, however, not all people that he met, decided to baptize into Christians. Pagans often beat him and expelled from their cities. The last destination of St. Apostle was city of Petra, where he died as a martyr.

His relics were moved to Constantinople in the middle of 14th century and stayed there until the city’s seizure by Crusaders at the beginning of 18th century. The knights took the relics to Italy. During the rule of Pope Pius the Second, the head of St. Andrew was brought to Rome.

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