St. Andrew and St. Francis of Assisi

Artist: 
Lewis Williams, OFS

Artist's Narrative:
St. Andrew, “Troparion,” first called of all Christ’s apostles, and St. Francis, first called of Christ’s renewed church (“…build up my house, for it is nearly in ruin.”). The painter\ iconographer ‘El Greco’ created an image of these two together that inspired this icon, but why these two together?

Andrew was a fisherman and the brother of St Peter. Francis came from a wealthy cloth merchant family but later espoused himself to ‘Lady Poverty.’ Both are examples that we can live very simply, and simplicity fed their holiness. Andrew traveled Asia Minor, after Pentecost, as his call to spread the Gospel. St. Francis traveled far to teach love of Christ and neighbor though love of poverty. Francis, and Andrew (it appears), loved nature. Tradition tells us Andrew suffered and died, bound (not nailed, thus prolonging his suffering) on an X shape cross. Francis received the stigmata, the actual, painful wounds of Christ. He died 2 years later, laid naked (at his request) on the Earth that bore him. Andrew’s name means manhood and valor. He was a follower of John the Baptist, possibly present at Christ’s baptism, and was mentioned in the gospel at the multiplication of the fish and loaves. Francis begged food to feed his poor followers and was also involved in many miraculous events. Francis given name Giovanni (John) means, “the Lord is gracious.”

In this icon, present in the creative milieu of the cosmos, surrounded be holy flames is a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit. It binds these men together in their burning love of Christ and guided them in acting out their response to their call (“Come, Follow Me”) in incredible lives. At his death, St. Francis is quoted saying of God’s call, “I have done my part; may Christ teach you to do yours.” May these two inspire you to ‘do yours.’

Their feast days are November 30 and October 4.

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