Profile and Biography of Andrew the Apostle

Apostle Andrew
Detail of "Apostle Saint Andrew" by El Greco, 1602-05.

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Andrew, whose Greek name means “manly,” was one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. The brother of Simon Peter and son of Jona (or John), Andrew’s name appears on all of the lists of apostles, and his being called by Jesus appears in all three synoptic gospels as well as Acts. Andrew’s name comes up multiple times in the gospels — the Synoptics show him at the Mount of Olives and John describes him as a one-time disciple of John the Baptist.

When Did Andrew the Apostle Live?

The gospel texts offer no information on how old Andrew was when he became one of Jesus’ disciples. The Acts of St. Andrew, an apocryphal work from the 3rd century, says Andrew was arrested and executed in 60 CE while preaching on the northwest coast of Achaia. A 14th-century tradition says he was crucified on an X-shaped cross, lasting for two days before dying. Today there is an X on Great Britain’s flag representing Andrew, patron saint of Scotland.

Where Did Andrew the Apostle Live?

Andrew, like his brother Peter, is depicted as having been called by Jesus to be one of his disciples while fishing in the Sea of Galilee. According to the gospel of John, he and Peter were natives of Bethsaida; according to the Synoptics, they were natives of Capernaum. He was, then, a fisherman of Galilee — an occupation taken up not only by many Jews in the west, but also many Gentiles who lived on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee.

What Did Andrew the Apostle Do?

There isn’t much information about what Andrew is supposed to have done. According to the synoptic gospels, he was one of the four disciples (along with Peter, James, and John) who took Jesus aside on the Mount of Olives to ask when the destruction of the Temple would occur. John’s gospel tells more, claiming that he was originally a disciple of John the Baptist who started following Jesus and giving him a speaking role in the feeding of the 5,000 as well as Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Why Was Andrew the Apostle Important?

Andrew appears to have been part of an inner circle among the disciples — only he and three others (Peter, James, and John) were on the Mount of Olives with Jesus when he foretold the destruction of the Temple and then received a lengthy discourse on the End Times and coming apocalypse. Andrew’s name is also among the first on apostolic lists, possibly an indication of his importance in early traditions.

Today Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. The Anglican Church maintains a yearly festival in his honor for the sake of praying both for missionaries and the general mission of the church.

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Cline, Austin. "Profile and Biography of Andrew the Apostle." Learn Religions, Aug. 27, 2020, Cline, Austin. (2020, August 27). Profile and Biography of Andrew the Apostle. Retrieved from Cline, Austin. "Profile and Biography of Andrew the Apostle." Learn Religions. (accessed March 27, 2023).