The Martyr Andrew (Andreios) Stratelates
Commemorated on August 19
The Martyr Andrew
(Andreios) Stratelates was a military commander in the Roman armies during
the reign of the emperor Maximian (284-305). They loved him in the Roman armies
because of his bravery, invincibility and sense of fairness. When a large
Persian army invaded the Syrian territories, the governor Antiochus entrusted
Saint Andrew with the command of the Roman army, giving him the title of
"Stratelates" ("Commander-General"). Saint Andrew chose for
himself a not large detachment of brave soldiers and proceeded against the
adversary. His soldiers were pagans. Saint Andrew himself had still not
accepted Baptism, but he believed in Jesus Christ. Before the conflict he
persuaded the soldiers, that the pagan gods – were demons and unable to render
help in battle. He proclaimed to them Jesus Christ, the omnipotent God of
Heaven and earth, giving help to all believing in Him. The soldiers went into
battle, calling on the help of the Saviour. The not large detachment set to
flight the numerous host of the Persians. Saint Andrew returned from the
campaign in glory, having gained a total victory. But the jealous reported on
him to the governor Antiochus, that he – was a Christian, converting to his
faith the soldiers under his command. Saint Andrew was summoned to trial, and
there he declared his faith in Christ. For this they subjected him to torture.
He reclined himself upon a bed of white-hot copper, but as soon as he recoursed
to help from the Lord, the bed became cool. They crucified his soldiers on
trees, but not one of them renounced Christ. Having locked the saints away in
prison, Antiochus dispatched the report of charges on to the emperor, being
undecided on whether to impose the death sentence upon the acclaimed victor.
The emperor knew, how the army loved Saint Andrew, and fearing a mutiny, he
gave orders to free the martyrs, and secretly he ordered that each under some
pretext be executed separately.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.