Saint Andrew the Scot

Jul 13, 2021 / Written by: Tonia Long

Feast Day August 22

Archdeacon, incorruptable - Death: 877 A.D.

When discussing our Saint of the Day on the 22nd of August, it is important that we make the distinction between him, Saint Andrew the Scot, and Saint Andrew the Apostle, Patron Saint of Scotland, whose feast day is November 30. It is the former whose “X”-shaped cross is depicted on the union flag of Great Britain, sometimes referred to as the Union Jack.

St. Donatus
Statue of St. Donatus on façade of church in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy.

Today’s Saint Andrew is referred to as “the Scot,” which reference was common in that day when speaking of someone from Ireland. Born probably at the beginning of the ninth century, he died about 877. St. Andrew and his sister St. Bridget the Younger were born in Ireland of noble parents. There they studied under St. Donatus, an Irish scholar.

When Donatus was inspired to make a long pilgrimage to the holy places of Italy, Andrew accompanied him. Donatus and Andrew arrived at Fiesole, a town of the Metropolitan City of Florence in the Italian region of Tuscany, when the people were assembled to elect a new bishop. A heavenly voice indicated Donatus as most worthy of the dignity, and being consecrated to that office, he made Andrew his archdeacon.

During the forty-seven years of the episcopate of St. Donatus, Andrew served him faithfully. He was apparently encouraged by Donatus to restore the church of St. Martin a Mensola and to found a monastery there. Andrew is commended for his austerity of life and boundless charity to the poor.

There is a miracle reported of his healing the daughter of a nobleman while he was in Fiesole. The girl had been paralyzed and the doctors were unable to help her so their father asked Andrew to come and pray for her. Kneeling by her couch he told her to stand for Jesus had healed her. Many other miracles were performed by him over the course of his deaconship in Fiesole: casting out demons, healing the blind, and the sick.

The Well of Saint Brigit, Ireland.
The Well of Saint Brigit, Ireland.

He died shortly after his master St. Donatus. The records of that time report that his sister St. Bridget is was miraculously conducted from Ireland by an angel to assist at his deathbed.

After St. Andrew's holy death, Bridget led the life of a recluse for some years in a remote spot among the Apennines.

Saint Andrew’s body is buried at St. Martin's, the church he restored. When at a later date his remains were exhumed, his body was found still preserved. His relics remain to be venerated in that church.

It was because of his service to the Church in Italy that Saint Andrew earned his titles (in Britain) of Andrew of Tuscany and Andrew of Fiesole.

Apennine mountains
View of the Apennine mountains in Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona, Campigna National Park, Tuscany, Italy.