Author Archives: Brian Williams

St. Andrew in the Traditional Mass and the Early Church

Luca Giordano, “Crucifixion of Saint Andrew”, 1659 (Photo: Public Domain)

The following guest post is by frequent contributor Fr. Donald Kloster, a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Have you ever noticed the appearance of St. Andrew in the Ordinary of the Mass right after the Pater Noster? We should be used to St. Mary as well as Sts. Peter and Paul being mentioned several times in the Holy Mass, but St. Andrew? It is a curious insertion except that St. Andrew had a huge Cultus in the early Church.

He is the only other apostle, besides Sts. Peter and Paul, mentioned a second time in The Mass of the Ages except for St. John in the last gospel. The first time, all of the Apostles are mentioned in the Communicantes immediately before the Hanc Igitur and the Epiclesis which begins the Consecration of the Body and Blood of our Lord.

We could say that St. Andrew introducit (introduces) us to the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God). At this point, the Subdeacon at a Solemn High Mass returns the paten to the altar and the transition of the veil of the Old Testament gives way to the Eternal Presence of Christ as He is about to feed His faithful with the Body and Blood at the Eternal Banquet of the Last Supper and the Holy Cross.

St. Andrew is recorded in the Gospels many times: for our purpose the scene is Jerusalem, shortly before the Passion. For the Feast of the Passover, St. John recounts, some Greeks had come to the city, probably proselytes or God-fearing men who had come up to worship the God of Israel at the Passover Feast. Sts. Andrew and Philip, the two Apostles with Greek names, served as interpreters and mediators of this small group of Greeks with Jesus. Catholics from every age are, for the most part, like the Greeks in the scriptures as most Catholics are not Jewish born converts nor do they have a Jewish lineage.

St. Andrew brought his brother, St. Peter, to Our Lord. St. Andrew, we all should recall, was the first Apostle of Christ. He is thus known as the Protoclete or First Called Apostle. Tradition also tells us he was one of the first two disciples of St. John the Baptist. After the Ascension, he went to Greece and Asia Minor to preach the Gospel. He has strong connections to the Byzantine Liturgy.

He is said to have been tied to a Saltire or X shaped cross, but was not nailed to it. He lived two days in that state of suffering, while preaching to all who gathered around the Holy Apostle. Two nations count him as their patron, Russia and Scotland. St. Peter is the Apostle of Rome and St. Andrew is the Apostle of Constantinople.

The Passion of St. Andrew relates the following quote: “Hail, O Cross, inaugurated by the Body of Christ and adorned with his limbs as though they were precious pearls. Before the Lord mounted you, you inspired an earthly fear. Now, instead, endowed with heavenly love, you are accepted as a gift. Believers know of the great joy that you possess, and of the multitude of gifts you have prepared. I come to you, therefore, confident and joyful, so that you too may receive me exultant as a disciple of the One who was hung upon you. O blessed Cross, clothed in the majesty and beauty of the Lord’s limbs! Take me, carry me far from men, and restore me to my Teacher, so that, through you, the one who redeemed me by you, may receive me. Hail, O Cross; yes, hail indeed!”

The Upside Down Cross of St. Peter and the Saltire of St. Andrew provided the means for these two Apostles to more perfectly conform to the Holy Cross of Christ Himself. Some have said that St. Andrew was the fourth of the favored disciples. The four favored Disciple include the two sets of brothers: Peter and Andrew who were the sons of Jonah in addition to James and John who were the sons of Zebedee or the sons of Boanerges (the sons of thunder). However, Sts. James and John are not mentioned again in the Ordinary of the Mass as is St. Andrew. His curious insertion is a sign of his powerful intercession and his favor with the Early Church.

St. Andrew, please draw us as close to Our Lord as you must have been. Then too, may we look more deeply within the unmistakeable syntax of the Ordinary of the Mass. There are many instructive movements in the Vetus Ordo and there are many buoyant references. Nothing in the Mass is without profundity.

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