June 6 Gospel Reading

Matthew 4:18-23

4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren,
Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea:
for they were fishers. 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I
will make you fishers of men. 4:20 And they straightaway left their nets,
and followed him. 4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two
brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with
Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 4:22 And
they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,
and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of
sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 

St. Andrew was born in Bethsaida, the brother of Peter, and is called "The First Called" in the Orthodox Church. He was a disciple of John the Baptist and had been waiting for the Messiah to come. When called, he "straightaway left" his nets, "and followed him." Tradition says that he preached in Byzantium, Peloponnese, Greece and Epirus (where he converted many to the faith and ordained bishops and priests for them. He entered Georgia from Ajara, preached Christianity in Atsquri, built a small church there and left the miracle-working icon of Theotokos. In Kiev, St. Andrew planted a cross on one of the high hills and prophesied a city that would have many golden-domed churches, and a bright Christian future for the Russian people. He was martyred in Peloponnese, in the city of Patras.

Even from the cross on which he was tortured in 62AD, he comforted the new converts and prayed. During this time an extraordinary light encompassed him for about a half and hour. When the light left, he gave up his soul. St. Andrew's relics were taken to Constantinople, his head to Rome and a hand to Moscow.

The Radzivill Chronicle portrays the event of St. Andrew's blessing of Kiev:


The building of a beautiful cathedral began in 1744 in honor of St. Andrew, with the first stones laid by the Empress Elizabeth.

I am thankful to St. Andrew that he waited in expectation for the Messiah. That he told those dear to him about his arrival. That he left his nets and his boat to follow Christ. That he preached in far off lands. Because of the particular love God planted in my heart for the Russian people, I am thankful to St. Andrew for his blessing on them in Kiev.

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