Pope Benedict XVI said of St Andrew: ‘The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name: it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected, but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored. We are in Galilee, where the Greek language and culture are quite present. … The kinship between Peter and Andrew, as well as the joint call that Jesus addressed to them, are explicitly mentioned in the Gospels. We read: “As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’”. … He was truly a man of faith and hope; and one day he heard John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus as: “the Lamb of God”; so he was stirred, and with another unnamed disciple followed Jesus, the one whom John had called “the Lamb of God”. The Evangelist says that “they saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day…”. Thus, Andrew enjoyed precious moments of intimacy with Jesus. The account continues with one important annotation: “One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus”, straightaway showing an unusual apostolic spirit. Andrew, then, was the first of the Apostles to be called to follow Jesus. Exactly for this reason the liturgy of the Byzantine Church honours him with the nickname: “Protokletos”, which means, precisely, “the first called”. And it is certain that it is partly because of the family tie between Peter and Andrew that the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople feel one another in a special way to be Sister Churches’.
So, today, on the Feast of St Andrew, we pray for our brethren in the Orthodox Church, under his patronage. May we too know also the depth of our own calling, and respond in trust and obedience. May God bless you this day.