Ukrainians Celebrate Day of St Andrew the First-called Apostle
On December 13 Christians living according to the Julian Calendar honor the memory of St. Andrew the First-called Apostle. Ukrainians honor Apostle Andrew in a special way as he is considered to be the one who brought Christianity to the "Hills of Kyiv."
According to the tradition, St. Andrew preached in the colony-cities near the Black Sea coast, the ruins of which still exist in the south of Ukraine, particularly, Chersonese. As for preaching of the apostle on the "Hills of Kyiv," references are being made to Nestor the Chronicler, who in his "Tale of Bygone Years" allegedly quoted the words of Apostle Andrew said to his disciples after they spent a night on the bank of the Dnipro: "Do you see these hills? God's Grace will shine on these hills, there will be a great city here and God will build many Churches." According to the report, he blessed the hills, climbed them and installed a cross there.
According to the chronicler, it took place exactly at the site of modern Kyiv. And the hill on which St. Andrew's Church is built is allegedly the hill where he installed his cross. Therefore, the church was built exactly there despite the difficult landscape.
As for these legends, they cannot be considered a proven historic fact. Many researchers agree that the apostle preached in the south of Ukraine but call untrue the information about his preaching on the "hills of Kyiv." However, honoring of Apostle Andrew as the one who first brought Christianity to the territory of the Kyivan Rus has become tradition.
As far as the history of the apostle himself is concerned, he came from the town of Bethsaida and was a fiserman together with his brother Peter. He was a disciple of John the Baptist. After his first meeting with Jesus, he immediately brought his brother, Peter, to the Savior. The Gospel says that Jesus "saw the two brothers and said to them: 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!' And they left their nets at once and followed Him" (Mt 4:18-20).
There is no historical information as to where Apostle Andrew preached after the Pentecost. However, as was already mentioned, various accounts attest that he preached Christ's faith to people living near the Black Sea coast.
The apostle finished his apostolic work in Patras of Achaia, where he was crucified on a cross in the shape of an "x."