Glimpses

St Andrew´s Day

St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and the official St Andrew's Day is on November 30th. Andrew, the Apostle, was added to the communion of saints of the Pictish Church in the 8th century. The legend was that St Rule, a Greek monk, was told by an angel to take the relics of St Andrew to Scotland. While different versions of the story exist, it seems that a religious shrine was created at "Cennrigmonaid" which is known today as the town of St Andrews. Both Columba and St Andrew became emblems of the Church of Scots which emerged from the Church of Picts and, subsequently, St Andrew was widely accepted as Scotland's patron saint.

Around 1143-60, a new cathedral and priory was located at St Andrews. Pilgrimages to St Andrews were encouraged by Queen Margaret who instituted a free ferry to transport "pilgrims to the Apostle" across the Firth of Forth. In 1320, the identity of the Scottish nation was supported by the "Declaration of Arbroath" in which the words "our patron and protector, Andrew" appear.

Two flags are commonly associated with Scotland: the "lion rampant" which is the Royal Standard of Scotland, and the official St Andrew's Cross which is also known as the "Saltire". The origin of the flag is told in the traditional Scottish legend of the Saltire. It is said that around 832 AD, in the vicinity of Athelstaneford in the Lothians, an army of allied Picts and Scots found themselves surrounded by a large force of Angles. As King Angus led the allies in prayer, a strange thing happened. The vision of a large white cross appeared against the light blue of the clear Lothian sky. The cross was taken as a representation of the X-shaped cross (crux decussata) upon which St Andrew had been martyred. King Angus vowed that if he were somehow to defeat the Angles, he would make St Andrew the patron saint of Scotland. As they say, the rest of the story is history!

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