Saturday, 30 November 2013

St Andrew's Day Rambling Roundup

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I planned to write something clever and wise for St Andrew's Day. I haven't. I'm still making a priority of resting after a recent operation. So instead of what I intended, here is a rambling miscellany of thoughts and links to other posts.

Firstly, why the image of aeroplane vapour trails? What has that got to do with St Andrew's Day, apart from the idea that Andrew was martryed on a diagonal cross? A diagonal white cross allegedly appeared in a blue sky on the morning of the battle in  832 A.D. between Angus (Oengus), King of the Picts (helped by the Scots) and Athelstane, the Saxon King of Northumbria. According to a story written by Walter Bower (1385 - 1449) King Angus prayed to St Andrew on the eve of the battle. The next day King Athelstane fled from the field and Athelstane was killed near what is now the village of Athelstaneford. Because of this story, the village now prides itself as being the birthplace of the Saltire, Scotland's national flag that has a white cross on a blue background. 

'St Andrew seals Scottish independence' is an interesting feature on the National Archives of Scotland website. This includes the legend of Regulus that dates the founding of the Christian church in Scotland to the 4th century. Andrew never went to Scotland, although possibly some of his bones might have been brought to Fife near present day St Andrew's.

Andrew, the first called of Jesus' disciples, is Scotland's patron saint, chosen probably more for political than religious reasons. In the Declaration of Arbroath submitted in 1320 to Pope John XXII reference is made to St Andrew (brother of St Peter) as part of its justification for Scottish independence. My favourite quote from the English translation of this document is this:
"...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."
According to a November 2013 YouGov survey in Scotland Andrew is the favourite Scottish saint (from a list of 9) but only 20% of those who responded expected to celebrate St Andrew's Day this year. And in view of the dreadful tragedy of a helicopter falling on a pub full of people in Glasgow last night, probably many who might have celebrated today have changed their plans.

St Andrew's Day has a special prayer for today and some links to other posts.

Well, that's it for now. I hope to get back to blogging more regularly and coherently soon.

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