Happy Feast of Saint Andrew, Patron of Scotlandeditor
SAINT ANDREW GIVEN OFFICIAL RECOGNITION AS SCOTLAND’S PATRON SAINT
From 1180 onward, Saint Andrew was used on official seals in Scotland sometimes along with the lion rampant, which was the heraldic symbol of the Scottish crown. In 1286, during the the Scottish Wars of Independence, when Scotland was ruled by the Guardians of Scotland in the absence of a king, the saint was depicted on the Guardians’ seal, used to authenticate their legal documents and communications to the rest of Europe. The seal also included the inscription: “Andrea Scotis dux esto compatriotis” (Andrew be leader of the compatriot Scots).
Saint Andrew was first recognised as the official patron saint of Scotland in 1320 at the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath. This was an appeal to the Pope by King Robert the Bruce and the Scottish noblemen, stating their wish to be peaceful, free men, independent of English rule. It is one of the most important documents ever signed, being the first ever declaration of independence by any nation and contains remarkably advanced ideas in the areas of nationhood and kingship. With reference to Saint Andrew, this document states:
“The high qualities and deserts of these people, were they not otherwise manifest, gain glory enough from this: that the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord Jesus Christ, after his Passion and Resurrection, called them, even though settled in the uttermost parts of the earth, almost the first to His most holy faith. Nor would He have them confirmed in that faith by merely anyone but by the first of His Apostles – by calling, though second or third rank – the most gentle Saint Andrew, the Blessed Peter’s brother, and desired him to keep them under his protection as their patron for ever.”
SAINT ANDREW AND THE REFORMATION
The presence of Andrew’s relics meant that St. Andrews became a popular medieval pilgrimage site. In 1318, St Andrews Cathedral was dedicated to him. It was the largest church in Scotland before the Reformation.
During the 16th Century, Scotland was plunged into the Reformation. It was a time of bloodshed, and many important artifacts were destroyed. The Reformers were keen to stamp out ‘Papist Idolatry’ and smashed and defaced many Catholic images, icons, relics and even the stone sarcophagi found inside medieval churches. In what almost seems like an act of wilful vandalism to the modern mind, St. Andrew’s relics were destroyed during these turbulent times. However, in 1879, the Archbishop of Amalfi gifted Andrew’s shoulder blade to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh. Pope Paul VI donated further relics in 1969. Source…
Today, we might ask our patron saint to intercede for special graces for Scotland, at this turbulent point in our history.
As usual, with Feast Day threads, of course, feel free to discuss relevant issues and to share your favourite prayers, hymns, stories and jokes of the “good clean fun” variety.
A very happy Feast of Saint Andrew to one and all!