December 13, 2017 - Kiahk 4, 1734
Martyrdom of St. Andrew the Apostle, the Brother of St. Peter
On this day, St. Andrew the Apostle, the brother of St. Peter, was martyred. He was chosen to go to the city of Lydd and to Kurdistan. He entered the city of Lydd, where most of its people had believed at the hands of St. Peter. He was accompanied by his disciple, Philemon, who had a sweet voice and was a good reader. St. Andrew commanded Philemon to go up to the pulpit and read. When the priests of the idols heard of the arrival of Andrew the Apostle, they took their spears and went to the church. They stood outside the church to hear if he was cursing their gods or not. They heard Philemon reading the words of David the Prophet, Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak: eyes they have but they do not see: They have ears, but they do not hear: noses they have, but they do not smell: They have hands, but they do not handle: feet they have, but they do not walk: nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them. (Psalm 115:4-8)
Their hearts rejoiced because of his sweet voice and their emotions mellowed. They entered the church, and bowed down at the feet of Andrew the Apostle. He preached to them and they believed in the Lord Christ. Then he baptized them with the rest of those who worshipped idols. Andrew the Apostle, then left them and went to Kurdistan and to the cities of Aksis, Aregnas and Henefores, to preach there. He also went with St. Bartholomew to the city of Azrinos. Its people were wicked and knew not God. They went on preaching and teaching them until they lead many of them to the knowledge of God, because of the signs and wonders they performed before them. Those who did not believe plotted against him. They sent for him so that when he arrived, they would attack him and kill him. When their messengers came to St. Andrew and heard his sincere teachings and saw his shining face, they believed in our Lord Christ and did not return to those who had sent them. The unbelievers decided to go to him and burn him. When they gathered around him to do what they had intended, the Apostle prayed to the Lord, and immediately fire came down from heaven and surrounded them. They were terrified and believed. The report of St. Andrew the Apostle, was heard throughout all these countries and many believed in the Lord. Nevertheless the priests of the idols did not cease looking for him in order to kill him. Afterwards, they gathered and went to him; they bound him and beat him severely. After they dragged him around the city naked, they cast him into prison, so that they might crucify him the following day. Their custom was to stone those who were to be killed by crucifixion. The Apostle spent his night praying to God. The Lord Christ appeared to him and strengthened him saying, Do not fear or worry for the time of your departure from this world is near. He gave him peace and disappeared. St. Andrew's soul rejoiced for what he saw. On the next day, they hanged him upon a tree and stoned him until he departed. Certain believers came and took his holy body and laid it with great honor in a private grave. Many signs and wonders were made manifest from his body. May His prayers be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.