SYMBOLS Stories of cultural life.

ST. ANDREW’S CROSS (Cross saltire, crux decussate)

St Andrew’s Cross: According to some Catholic beliefs, many of the apostles were also crucified, and sometime in a fashion different from Christ.

Andrew is beloved in many countries, especially in Scotland, Greece, and Russia. A late (14th century) version of his story has St. Andrew crucified on a cross like an X; a position from which he was able to address the crowds for several days before expiring. His strong following in Scotland is partly due to the transport of his relics there.

Another Scottish story of St Andrew goes back to a battle in 832 fought at Athelstaneford, in East Lothian. The Scots under King Angus faced a much larger force of Anglo-Saxons. Like Constantine, the King saw a vision in the sky, a cloud formation of a white saltire, prior to the battle. The Scots won the day, and the sign became the flag of Scotland, a white cross against a sky blue background.

In Russia, Andrew is the patron saint. Legend has him visiting Kiev on one of his missionary journeys. The highest ranking order of Imperial Russia, the Order of St. Andrew, has a crucifix with St. Andrew represented on an X-shaped cross. Most of his bones were enshrined in Amalfi, Italy, where legend has it that a mysterious manna-like oil is produced from his tomb. His head was retained in Patras, Greece, the site of his death.    

Metford, 24-25;
Murray, 17, 89-91;
Pastoureau, 13-67;
Neubecker, 106-107.

st. andrew's cross
st. andrew cross
Cross saltire
crux decussate

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