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News 30 Nov 17

Romanian Pilgrims Gather at Cave to Honour Saint

Over 15,000 pilgrims are expected on Thursday to pray at a cave-church in southern Romania where the Apostle Andrew, Romania's patron saint, is believed to have lived for a while.

Ana Maria Luca
Saint Andrew Church in IOn Corvin Village in Romania. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Ionut68

Thousands of Christian Orthodox pilgrims from Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine were expected to gather on Thursday in a village in southeastern Romania to hear a mass dedicated to the Apostle St Andrew, Romania’s patron saint.

According to a press release by the Archbishop of Tomis, 13 high-ranking clerics, including some from Bulgaria and Ukraine, were due to officiate at Thursday’s ceremony.

The event takes place every year on November 30 at a monastery in Ion Corvin village, near a cave believed to have hosted the apostle, some 80 kilometres from the Black Sea port of Constanta.

Many Romanian Orthodox Christians believe Andrew brought the Christian faith to Scythia Minor, today’s region of Dobrogea in Romania.

He is called “the apostle of the Romanians” and the Romanian Orthodox Church has declared him patron saint of the country. Romania declared November 30 a national holiday in 2012.

The cave was discovered in the 1940s by a local lawyer, and the legend that the apostle lived in it spread rapidly, although historians have found no valid proof of the claim.

Andrew is thought to have died in Patras, today’s Greece, crucified on an X-shaped cross, now commonly known as “Saint Andrew’s cross.”

Besides Romania, Saint Andrew is also the patron saint of Scotland, Ukraine, Russia, as well as Patras in Greece and other towns in Italy, Malta or Portugal. He was also the patron saint of Prussia.

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