13 December 2022
Today is the remembrance day of Saint Andrew the First-Called, one of the twelve closest disciples of Christ. He was the brother of the Apostle Peter, a man with an ardent striving for finding God.

When the fisherman Andrew heard from his first teacher, John the Baptist, the words that Jesus of Nazareth was the Saviour promised to the people, he immediately followed Him. And when Jesus called him and his brother to serve, Andrew parted with his former life without any hesitation and became His disciple and apostle.

It is known that every Christian nation has its own special enlightener or apostle. The Apostles Peter and Paul preached the Gospel to the inhabitants of modern Italy. The Egyptians recognized Christ thanks to the deeds of the Apostle Mark, and Christians of India honour their Apostle Thomas. The disciples of Christ brought the light of Truth to all ends of the universe.

The Apostle Andrew or Saint Andrew was fated to go with the preaching of the Word of God in the Circum-Pontic (Black Sea) region. According to the legend, he travelled all the way upstream the Dnieper River and reached the high hills, on which later our glorious capital, Kyiv, arose.

The Monk Nestor the Chronicler tells us in The Tale of Bygone Years that the Apostle Andrew blessed the Kyiv Hills, erected a cross on one of them and, foreseeing the great glory of the future city, said his prophetic words, “The grace of God will shine on these hills!”

Enlightened by it, Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Volodymyr later baptized Ancient Rus’ here. Kyiv would stretch to the sky with its [church] domes and belfries, and would be adorned with glorious monasteries and great saints.

That is why Saint Andrew the First-Called is especially loved by our people and especially revered by our Holy Church. His life and deeds are a vivid example of strong faith, sincere love and unshakable courage.

We believe that the grains of grace, generously sown by the Apostle Andrew in the fertile Ukrainian land, will bring us some generous sprouts again and again – a lot of people with enlightened hearts who keep a fervent faith in the good, who strive to live in harmony with God and with each other, want to build a peaceful and bright future for themselves, their children and their grandchildren. They will not allow their shrines to be desecrated by anyone.

This future is already in front of us. In the end, it will be the way we will be like. Today we should learn to be faithful to God, as Saint Andrew was. We should not be afraid of anything in this life, except sin. Despite any threats and oppression, we should remain with our Church, in which we were born spiritually.

Through the prayers of Saint Andrew, may the Lord grant us the strength and wisdom to make ourselves right and thereby make the world around us right too!
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