St. Andreas, although born in Damascus of Asia Minor in 669 AD, and grew up in the city of the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord, yet he is closely associated with the island of the heroes, of Crete. His parents, George and Gregoria, being devout Christians, infused the soul of their son with the commandments of God. His Christian education bestowed St. Andreas with the required qualities of distinction. He was tonsured a monk at a young age and later distinguished himself as patriarchal notary in Jerusalem.
At the age of 25 he was ordained deacon by the Patriarch of Constantinople George. St. Andreas looked upon the city of Jerusalem and upon Constantinople as the beacons of universal education and as sources of theological thought. His presence could not go unnoticed. He was referred to as "wV póliV epánw órouV keimenh". His prudence and vigour were soon recog-nised by the Patriarch of Jerusalem who included him in the delegation to the sixth Ecumenical Synod in Constantinople in 680 AD. That Synod convened in order to examine the issue of Monophysitism - Monothelitism. The works lasted for approximately a year and meetings totalled eighteen. St. Andreas exhibited strategic qualities in defending Orthodox faith and defeated the cause of the heretics. By the end of the Synod the disparities between the parties had been dissolved.
At the age of 51 St. Andreas was appointed Archbishop of Crete. As chief administrator on ecclesiastical matters on the island he assumed the responsibility of organising the Church of Crete. During his office he prompted philanthropy, erected churches and charitable institutions. St. Andreas comforted and encouraged his flock during harsh times. He distinguished himself as an orator and great hymnographer. Today, approximately 100 canons and numerous troparia of the saint are preserved. Being extremely sensitive and receptive to social problems, he would travel to Constantinople to consult with the head of the Church. During one of his trips, the saint passed away on board ship on his way back to Crete. He was buried in the Church of Agia Anastasia on the island of Chios in 740 AD. Our church celebrates his memory on July 4 every year.
It is customary in Crete to praise a person who exhibits valour all his life. The valiant never perish, we believe. They are always contemporary and an inspiration to all those who dare stand up against the enemy to defend our priceless and perennial heritage. It is high time to rally our forces, assume initia-tive to claim what is rightfully ours. It is our destiny to defend our beliefs and come out victorious, in spite of the fact that we are always outnumbered by the numerous enemies.
from The Orthodox Messenger, v. 8
(7/8), July/Aug 1997
published bi-monthly by the SA Central Youth
PO Box 269, GLENELG SA 5045 AUSTRALIA