Today is the feast day of the first called Apostle, brother of St. Peter and founder of the church of Constantinople St. Andrew. Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist who went along with the beloved disciple St. John to follow our Lord at the direction of John the Forerunner. He later introduced his younger brother Simon to the Lord who made of him Peter the Rock on which He built his Church.
Tradition records that St. Andrew went north after Pentecost to found the church of Byzantium on the Bosporus, the future site of Constantinople and later preached in what is now Russia and in what we now call the Ukraine but what was then broadly called Scythia. He was martyred in the Peloponnese in southern Greece, crucified by the Roman governor. St. Andrew is the great patron of the East, the older brother of Simon Peter the founder of the See of Rome. Peter was ordained Prince of the Apostles not by his own choice or merit, but by the will of God. The East and the West are brothers, the East older while the West is younger but with the Apostolic See of Rome given primacy by its founder, its history, and the inscrutable divine Will. Pray for the unity of the Church, the unity between East and West, and to paraphrase Bl. John Paul II that the Church may breathe with both lungs once again.
Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, for its liberty and its salvation, and the restoration of its ancient position as a pillar of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome and for the conversion of the Muslim peoples.
Message of Pope Francis to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I on the Feast of St. Andrew