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Saint of the Day for Sunday, November 30th, 2014 Image of St. Andrew: Patron Saint of Romania


Image of St. Andrew

St. Andrew

Andrew, like his brother Simon Peter, was a fisherman. He became a disciple of the great St. John the Baptist, but when John pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Andrew understood … continue reading

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Saint Andrew in Romania

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Church of Saint Andrew in Ion Corvin, Constanța (completed 2002)

Church of Saint Andrew in Ion Corvin, Constanța (completed 2002)

The story of Saint Andrew in Romania tells that today’s territory of Romania was Christianized by Saint Andrew in the 1st century AD. These claims are backed by some historians and by several Christian artifacts discovered and dated to the third century BC.[1][2]

The story is based on references by 3rd century writer Hippolytus of Rome in “On Apostles”, mentioning Saint Andrew’s voyage to Scythia and on works by several authors which also mention the voyage, such as: Eusebius in the Chronicles of Eusebius,[3] Origen in the third book of his Commentaries on the Genesis (254 C.E.), Usaard in his Martyrdom written between 845-865, and Jacobus de Voragine in the Golden Legend (c. 1260). Scythia generally refers to a land in what is now Romania (Scythia Minor), Ukraine and southern Russia.

The Story

Historian Alexandru Barnea states that a tale started to circulate in the first half of the 20th century.[4] It tells of Saint Andrew’s arrival in Dobruja during a harsh winter, fighting wild beasts and the blizzard before reaching a cave. At the cave, Saint Andrew hit the ground with his walking stick and a spring came in to being, in the waters of which he baptized the locals and cured the ill, thus converting the whole area to Christianity.[4] This tale seems to be heavily based on the Chronicles of Eusebius.

According to some modern Romanian scholars, the idea of early Christianisation is unsustainable. They take the idea to be a part of an ideology of protochronism which purports that the Orthodox Church has been a companion and defender of the Romanian people for its entire history, which was then used for propaganda purposes during the communist era.[5] However, other works indicate that communists did not use this idea for propaganda but rather acted strongly against religion, persecuting Christians and promoting atheism as the belief system.[6][7][8]

Romanian researcher, George Alexandrou,[9] maintains that St. Andrew spent 20 years in the territories of the Daco-Romans, preaching and teaching. During that period St. Andrew traveled around the Lower Danube territories and along the coast of the Black Sea, but mostly he stayed in and around his cave in Dobruja (located in the vicinity of the Ion Corvin village). St. Andrew’s cave is still kept as a holy place. Later, John Cassian (360-435), Dionysius Exiguus (470-574) and Joannes Maxentius (leader of the so-called Scythian Monks) lived in the same area, known as Scythia Minor or Dobruja, in South East Romania.[10]

Saint Andrew’s Cave

According to Hippolyte of Antioch, (died c. 250 C.E.) in his On Apostles, Origen, in the third book of his Commentaries on the Genesis (254 C.E.), Eusebius of Caesarea in his Church History (340 C.E.), and other sources, like the Usaard’s Martyrdom written between 845-865, and Jacobus de Voragine in Golden Legend (c. 1260), Saint Andrew preached in Scythia Minor. St. Philip may have also preached in the area.[11] There are toponyms and numerous very old traditions (like carols) related to Saint Andrew, many of them having probably a pre-Christian substratum.[12][13][14] In Dobruja, a cave where he supposedly preached, is called “Saint Andrew’s Cave” and advertised as a pilgrimage site.

According to Radu Cinpoes (Cimpoesh?), there is no clear evidence concerning missionary work on the part of St. Andrew near Dobruja.[15]

Patron saint of Romania

In 1994, Saint Andrew was named the patron saint of Dobruja (Rom. Dobrogea), in 1997 the patron saint of Romania, while in 2012, November 30 became a public holiday.[4]
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