Listening and Writing: Saint Andrew
In Scotland, St. Andrew’s Day is November 30.
Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Romania and Russia and was Christ’s first disciple.
When designing writing activities it’s sometimes difficult to decide how much information to give students before they begin drafting. If you give too much, they end up copying out what was given, but if too little is given it becomes a free writing task with demoralising results.
Facts in brief:
He was born a Jew in Bethsaida in Galilee
He spoke Aramaic
Andrew’s Greek name was Andreas meaning ‘manly’
He was the elder brother of Saint Peter and, like him, a fisherman by trade
He was the second person to be baptised by John the Baptist after Jesus
Andrew was martyred for his faith in Patras
Legend has it that some of St. Andrew’s bones were taken to Scotland by St. Rule in Pictish times
His bones once lay in St. Andrew’s Cathedral
The first church in England to be dedicated to him was in Rochester
He is the patron of the Order of the Thistle, one of the highest ranks of chivalry in the world
By just giving the above and asking the students to write a profile of St. Andrew,
you would probably let them use very little creativity. If you add in some more
information, they will need to vary their texts. Below is a text that you can use as a
listening exercise, integrating skills at the same time.
Read out the text and let the students take notes – read it several times. They then combine their notes & the points in the first text to produce a first draft of St. Andrew. They then go on to refine their drafts.
Here’s the listening text:
Saint Andrew: A Patron Saint
Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew’s Day is celebrated by
Scots around the world on November 30 each year. The original Andrew was a fisherman in
the Holy Land, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus helping to spread the Christian faith.
He is believed to have been martyred at a place called Patras in Greece, crucified by a Roman governor on an X-shaped cross that was to become the inspiration for the cross that forms the Saltire, Scotland’s national flag.
His bones were entombed until, 300 years later, the Emperor Constantine the Great decreed they should be moved to his new capital city of Constantinople (Istanbul) in Turkey.
Legend has it that before Constantine’s orders could be carried out, a monk, who was called St. Rule, was warned in a dream. An angel told him to take what bones he could to the “ends of the earth” for safe-keeping. The monk removed a tooth, an arm bone, a kneecap and some fingers from Saint Andrew’s tomb and set out on an epic journey. He was shipwrecked off Scotland and washed ashore with his precious cargo at a Pictish settlement that was soon to become known as St. Andrews.
Another version of the story is that Acca, Bishop of Hexham, a renowned collector of relics, brought them to St. Andrews in the 7th century. There certainly seems to have been a religious centre at St. Andrews at that time.
Whatever the truth, the relics were placed in a specially constructed chapel on the same site as the Cathedral of St. Andrews which was built in the 11th century. At that time St. Andrews was the religious capital of Scotland and a great centre for Medieval pilgrims who came to view the relics. It is not known what happened to the relics of St. Andrew which were stored there, although it is most likely that these were destroyed during the Scottish Reformation when many churches were ransacked and treasures destroyed.
The larger part of St. Andrew’s remains were stolen from Constantinople in 1210 and are now to be found in Southern Italy. In 1879 the Archbishop of Amalfi sent a small piece of the Saint’s shoulder blade to the re-established Roman Catholic community in Scotland.
During his visit to Scotland in 1969, Pope Paul VI gave further relics of St. Andrew to Scotland with the words “Saint Peter gives you his brother” and these are now displayed in a reliquary in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.
The chivalric Order of Saint Andrew, also known as the Most Ancient Order of the Thistle, was created by James VII in 1687 and is an order of Knighthood restricted to the King or Queen and 16 others.
St. Andrew is also the patron saint of Russia. It is said he can best be invoked against gout and a stiff neck.
Legend says that in 832 AD, an army of Scots was facing a Northumbrian army. The Scottish king prayed to St. Andrew for help, and saw the saltire of St. Andrew in the heavens against a clear blue sky. On seeing the cross in the sky, he swore that if the Scots beat the English in the battle, then St. Andrew would forever be the patron saint of Scotland.
The Scots did in fact win the battle, and from that day on the saltire has been the national flag of Scotland.