Compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275
Englished by William Caxton, First Edition 1483
From the Temple Classics Edited by F.S. Ellis
[Lacunae supplied by W. G. Ryan’s translation]
Also available in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format
2// THE LIFE OF ST. ANDREW
Andrew is expounded, and is as much as to say as fair, or answering unto strength, and it is said of andor, that is as much to say as strength; or Andrew is said thus, as antipos of ana, which is to say high, and of tropos which is conversion, so that Andrew is to say, a man highly converted, and in heaven addressed unto his maker. He was fair in his life, answering in wisdom and in doctrine, strong in pain and converted high in glory. The priests and deacons of Achaia wrote his passion like as they had seen it with their eyes.
Andrew and some other disciples were called three times of our Lord. He called them first in the knowledging of him, as when St. Andrew was with John the Baptist, his master, and another disciple; he heard that John said: Lo! here the Lamb of God; and then he went anon with another disciple, and came to Jesu Christ and abode with him all that day. And then St. Andrew found Simon, his brother, and brought him to Jesu Christ, and the next day following they went to their craft of fishing. And after this he called them the second time by the stagne of Gennesereth, which is named the sea of Galilee. He entered into the ship of Simon and of Andrew, and there was taken great multitude of fish, and he called James and John, which were in another ship, and they followed him, and after went into their proper places.
After this he called them from their fishing, and said: Come, follow me, I shall make you fishers of men.
Then they left their ships and nets, and followed him, and after this they abode with him, and went no more to their own houses. And howbeit he called Andrew and some other to be apostles, of which calling, Matthew saith in the third chapter: He called to him them that he would.
St. Andrew’s Mission to Ethiopia
And after the ascension of our Lord, the apostles were departed, and Andrew preached in Scythia and Matthew in Murgondy [Ethiopia]. And the men of this country refused utterly the preaching of St. Matthew, and drew out his eyes, and cast him in prison fast bounden.
In the meanwhile an angel, sent from our Lord, and commanded him to go to St. Matthew into Murgondy, and he answered that he knew not the way. And then the angel commanded him that he should go unto the seaside, and that be should enter into the first ship that he should find, and so he did gladly, in accomplishing the commandment, and went into the city by the leading of the angel, and had wind propitious. And when he was come he found the prison open, where St. Matthew was in; and when he saw him he wept sore and worshipped him; and then our Lord rendered and gave again to St. Matthew his two eyes and his sight.
And then St. Matthew departed from thence and came into Antioch, and St. Andrew abode in Murgondy, and they of the country were wroth that St. Matthew was so escaped. Then took they St. Andrew and drew him through the places, his hands bounden in such wise that the blood ran out. He prayed for them to Jesu Christ, and converted them by his prayer; and from thence he came to Antioch.
This that is said of the blinding of St. Matthew, I suppose that it is not true, nor that the evangelist was not so infirm, but that he might get for his sight that St. Andrew gat for him so lightly.
The Quenching of the Fire
It was so that a young man came and followed St. Andrew, against the will of all his parents; and on a time his parents set fire on the house where he was with the apostle, and when the flame surmounted right high, the child took a brush full of water and sprinkled withal the fire, and anon the fire quenched. And then his friends and parents said: Our son is made an enchanter.
And as they would have gone up by the ladders, they were suddenly made blind, that they saw not the ladders, and then one of them recried and said: Wherefore enforce ye you against them? God fighteth for them and ye see it not. Cease ye and leave off, lest the ire of our Lord fall on you.
Then many of them that saw this believed in our Lord, and the parents died within forty days after, and were put in one sepulchre.
The Pregnant Woman Who Prayed to Diana
There was a woman with child, joined in wedlock with a homicide who was troubled greatly upon her deliverance; and at the time of childing she might not be delivered. She bade her sister to go to Diana and pray to her that she help me. She went and prayed, and Diana said to her, which was the devil in an idol: Wherefore prayest thou to me? I may not help ne profit thee, but go unto Andrew the apostle which may help thee and thy sister.
And she went to him, and brought him to her sister, which travailed in great pain, and began to perish. And the apostle said to her: By good right thou sufferest this pain; thou conceivedst in treachery and sin, and thou counselledst with the devil. Repent thee, and believe in Jesu Christ, and thou shalt be anon delivered of thy child.
And when she believed and was repentant, she was delivered of her child, and the pain and sorrow passed and ceased.
Nicholas the Old Man Always in Lechery
An old man called Nicholas by name, went unto the apostle and said to him: Sir, I have lived fifty years, and always in lechery. And I took on a time a gospel, in praying God that he would give me from then forthon continence. But I am accustomed in this sin, and full of evil delectation, in such wise that I shall return to this sin accustomed.
On a time that I was inflamed by luxury, I went to the bordel, and forgat the gospel upon me, and anon the foul woman said: ‘Go hence thou old man, for thou art an angel of God, touch me not, nor come not near me, for I see marvel upon thee.’ And I was abashed of the word of the woman, and I remembered that I had the gospel upon me, wherefore I beseech thee to pray God for me and for my health.
And when St. Andrew heard this he began to weep, and prayed from tierce unto nones. And when he arose he would not eat, and said: I shall eat no meat till I know whether our Lord shall have pity of this old man.
And when he had fasted five days, a voice came to St. Andrew and said to him: Andrew, thy request is granted for the old man, for like as thou hast fasted and made thyself lean, so shall he fast and make himself lean by fastings for to be saved.
And so he did, for he fasted six months to bread and water. and after that he rested in peace and good works. Then came a voice that said: I have gotten Nicholas by thy prayers whom I had lost.
A Christian Youth Accused of Incestuous Desires
A young Christian man said to St. Andrew: My mother saw that I was fair, and required me for to have to do sin with her; and when I would not consent to her in no manner, she went to the judge, and would return and lay to me the sin of so great a felony. Pray for me that I die not so untruly; for when I shall be accused I shall hold my peace and speak not one word, and have liefer to die than to defame and slander my mother so foully.
Thus came he to judgment, and his mother accused him, saying that he would have defouled her. And it was asked of him oft if it was so as she said, and he answered nothing. Then said St. Andrew to her: Thou art most cruel of all women, which for the accomplishment of thy lechery wilt make thy son to die.
Then said this woman to the provost: Sir, sith that my son came, and accompanied with this man, he would have done his will with me, but I withstood him that he might not.
And anon the provost and judge commanded that the son should be put in a sack anointed with glue, and thrown into the river, and St. Andrew to be put in prison till he had advised him how he might torment him. But St. Andrew made his prayer to God, and anon came an horrible thunder, which feared them all, and made the earth to tremble strongly and the woman was smitten with the thunder unto the death. And the other prayed the apostle that they might not perish, and he prayed for them, and the tempest ceased. Thus then the provost believed in God, and all his meiny.
The Seven Devils of Nice
After this, as the apostle was in the city of Nice, the citizens said to him that there were seven devils without the city, by the highway, which slew all them that passed forthby. And the apostle Andrew commanded them to come to him, which came in the likeness of dogs, and sith he commanded them that they should go whereas they should not grieve ne do harm to any man; and anon they vanished away. And when the people saw this they received the faith of Jesu Christ.
And when the apostle came to the gate of another city there was brought out a young man dead. The apostle demanded what was befallen him, and it was told him that seven dogs came and strangled him. Then the apostle wept and said: O Lord God, I know well that these were the devils that I put out of Nice; and after said to the father of him that was dead: What wilt thou give to me if I raise him?
And he said: I have nothing so dear as him, I shall give him to thee. And anon the apostle made his prayers unto almighty God, and raised him from death to life, and he went and followed him.
St. Andrew Resurrects 40 Drowned Men
On a time there were forty men by number, which were coming by the sea, sailing unto the apostle, for to receive of him the doctrine of the faith. And the devil raised and moved a great storm and so horrible a torment that all they were drowned together. And when their bodies were brought tofore the apostle, he raised them from death to life anon, and there they said all that was befallen to them. And therefore it is read in an hymn that he rendered the life to young men drowned in the sea.
St. Andrew is Martyred in Achaia
And the blessed St. Andrew, whilst he was in Achaia, he replenished all the country with churches and converted the people to the faith of Jesu Christ and informed the wife of Ægeas, which was provost and judge of the town, in the faith, and baptized her. And when Ægeas heard this he came into the city of Patras and constrained the Christians to sacrifice. And St. Andrew came unto him, and said: It behoveth thee which hast deserved to be a judge, to know thy judge which is in heaven, and he so known, to worship him, and so worshipping, withdraw thy courage from the false gods.
And Ægeas said: Thou art Andrew that preachest a false law, which the princes of Rome have commanded to be destroyed.
To whom Andrew said: The princes of Rome knew never how the son of God came and taught and informed them that the idols be devils, and he that teacheth such things angereth God, and he, so angered, departeth from them that he heareth them not, and therefore be they caitiffs of the devil and be so illused and deceived that they issue out of the body all naked, and bear nothing with them but sins.
And Ægeas said to him: These be the vanities that your Jesus preached, which was nailed on the gallows of the cross.
To whom Andrew said: He received with his agreement the gibbet of the cross, not for his culp and trespass, but for our redemption.
And Ægeas said: When he was delivered of his disciple, taken and holden with the Jews, and crucified by the knyghts, how sayst thou that it was by his agreement?
Then St. Andrew began to show by five reasons that Jesu Christ received death by his own agreement and will, forasmuch as he came tofore his passion, and said to his disciples that it should be, when he said: We shall go up to Jerusalem, and the son of the maid shall be betrayed. And also for that Peter would withdraw him, he reproved him, and said: Go after me, Sathanas. And also for that he showed that he had power to suffer death, and to rise again when he said: I have power to put away my soul and to take it again. And also for that he knew tofore him that betrayed him, when he gave him his supper, and showed him not. And also for that he chose the place where he should be taken, for he knew well that the traitor should come. And St. Andrew said that he had been at all these things, and yet he said more, that the mystery of the cross was great.
To whom Ægeas said: It may not be said mystery, but torment, and if thou wilt not grant to my sayings, truly I shall make thee prove this mystery.
And Andrew said to him: If I doubted the gibbet of the cross I would not preach the glory thereof. I will that thou hear the mystery, and if thou knew and believedst on it thou shouldst be saved.
Then he showed to him the mystery of the cross, and assigned five reasons. The first is this: Forasmuch as the first man that deserved death was because of the tree, in breaking the commandment of God, then is it thing convenable that the second man should put away that death, in suffering the same on the tree.
The second was that, he that was made of earth not corrupted, and was breaker of the commandment, then was it thing convenable that he that should repel this default, should be born of a virgin.
The third; for so much as Adam had stretched his hand disordinately to the fruit forbidden, it was thing convenable that the new Adam should stretch his hands on the cross.
The fourth; for so much as Adam had tasted sweetly the fruit forbidden, it is therefore reason that it be put away by thing contrary; so that Jesu Christ was fed with bitter gall.
The fifth; for as much as Jesu Christ gave to us his immortality, it is thing reasonable, that he take our mortality. For if Jesu Christ had not been dead, man had never been made immortal.
And then said Ægeas: Tell to thy disciples such vanities, and obey thou to me, and make sacrifice unto the Gods almighty.
And then said St. Andrew: I offer every day unto God Almighty, a lamb without spot, and after that he is received of all the people, so liveth he and is all whole.
Then demanded Ægeas how that might be.
And Andrew said: Take the form for to be a disciple, and thou shalt know it well.
I shall demand thee, said Ægeas, by torments. Then he being all angry, commanded that he should be enclosed in prison, and on the morn he came to judgment, and the blessed St. Andrew unto the sacrifice of the idols. And Ægeas commanded to be said to him: If thou obey not to me, I shall do hang thee on the cross, for so much as thou hast praised it.
And thus as he menaced him of many torments St. Andrew said to him: Think what torment that is most grievous that thou mayst do to me, and the more I suffer, the more I shall be agreeable to my king, because I shall be most firm in the torments and pain.
Then commanded Ægeas that he should be beaten of twenty-one men, and that he should be so beaten, bounden by the feet and hands unto the cross, to the end that his pain should endure the longer. And when he was led unto the cross, there ran much people [shouting, An innocent man is condemned to shed his blood without cause. The apostle, however, begged them not to try to save him from martyrdom.]
And when he saw the cross from far he saluted it, and said: All hail cross which art dedicate in the body of Jesu Christ, and wert adorned with the members of him, as of precious stones. Tofore that our Lord ascended on thee, thou wert the power earthly, now thou art the love of heaven; thou shalt receive me by my desire. I come to thee surely and gladly so that thou receive me gladly as disciple of him that hung on thee. For I have alway worshipped thee and have desired thee to embrace. O thou cross which hast received beauty and noblesse of the members of our Lord, whom I have so long desired and curiously loved, and whom my courage hath so much desired and coveted, take me from hence, and yield me to my master, to the end that he may receive me by thee.
And in thus saying, he despoiled and unclad him, and gave his clothes unto the butchers. And then they hung him on the cross, like as to them was commanded. And there he lived two days, and preached to twenty thousand men that were there.
Then all the company swore the death of Ægeas, and said: The holy man and debonair ought not to suffer this.
Then came thither Ægeas for to take him down off the cross. And when Andrew saw him he said: Wherefore art thou come to me, Ægeas? If it be for penance thou shalt have it, and if it be for to take me down, know thou for certain thou shalt not take me hereof alive; for I see now my lord and king that abideth for me.
Therewith they would have unbound him, and they might in nowise touch him for their arms were bynomen and of no power. And when the holy St. Andrew saw that the world would have taken him down off the cross he made this orison hanging on the cross, as St. Austin saith in the book of penance: Sire, suffer me not to descend from this cross alive, for it is time that thou command my body to the earth, for I have born long the charge, and have so much watched upon that which was commanded to me, and have so long travailed, that I would now be delivered of this obedience, and be taken away from this agreeable charge. I remember that it is much grievous, in proud bearing, in doubting, unsteadfast in nourishing, and have gladly laboured in the refraining of them. Sire, thou knowest how oft the world hath entended to withdraw me from the purity of contemplation, how oft he hath entended to awake me from the sleep of my sweet rest, how much and how oft times he hath made me to sorrow, and as much as I have had might I have resisted it right debonairly in fighting against it, and have by thy work and aid surmounted it: and I require of thee just and debonair guerdon and reward, and that thou command that I go not again thereto, but I yield to thee that which thou hast delivered me. Command it to another and empesh me no more, but keep me in the resurrection, so that I may receive the merit of my labour. Command my body unto the earth, so that it behoveth no more to wake, but let it be stretched freely to thee, which art fountain of joy never failing.
And when he had said this, there came from heaven a right great shining light, which environed him by the space of half an hour, in such wise that no man might see him. And when this light departed he yielded and rendered therewith his spirit. And Maximilla, the wife of Ægeas, took away the body of the apostle, and buried it honourably. And ere that Ægeas was come again to his house, he was ravished with a devil by the way, and died tofore them all.
And it is said that out of the sepulchre of St. Andrew cometh manna like unto meal, and oil which hath a right sweet savour and odour. And by that is shewed to the people of the country when there shall be plenty of goods. For when ther cometh but little of manna, the earth shall bring forth but little fruit, and when it cometh abundantly, the earth bringeth forth fruit plenteously. And this might well happen of old time, for the body of him was transported into Constantinople.
Miracles of St. Andrew
The Bishop and the Devil in Disguise of a Woman
There was a bishop that led an holy and religious life, and loved St. Andrew by great devotion, and worshipped him above all other saints, so that in all his works he remembered him every day, and said certain prayers in the honour of God and St. Andrew, in such wise that the enemy had envy on him, and set him for to deceive him with all his malice, and transformed him into the form of a right fair woman, and came to the palace of the bishop, and said that she would be confessed to him.
And the bishop bade her to go confess her to his penitencer, which had plain power of him.
And she sent him word again that she would not reveal nor show the secrets of her confession to none but to him, and so the bishop commanded her to come; and she said to him: Sir, I pray thee that thou have mercy on me; I am so as ye see in the years of my youth, and a maid, and was deliciously nourished from my infancy, and born of royal lineage, but I am come alone, in a strange habit; for my father which is a right mighty king would give me to a prince by marriage; whereto I answer that I have horror of all beds of marriage, and I have given my virginity to Jesu Christ for ever, and therefore I may not consent to carnal copulation. And in the end he constrained me so much that I must consent to his will or suffer divers torments; so that I am fled secretly away, and had liefer be in exile, than to break and corrupt my faith to my spouse. And because I hear the praising of your right holy life, I am fled unto you and to your guard, in hope that I may find with you place of rest, whereas I may be secret in contemplation, and eschew the evil perils of this present life, and flee the diverse tribulations of the world.
Of which thing the bishop marvelled him greatly, as well for the great noblesse of her lineage, as for the beauty of her body, for the burning of the great love of God, and for the honest fair speaking of this woman. So that the bishop answered to her, with a meek and pleasant voice: Daughter, be sure and doubt nothing; for he for whose love thou hast despised thyself and these things, shall give to thee the great thing. In this time present is little glory or joy, but it shall be in time to come. And I which am sergeant of the same, offer me to thee, and my goods; and choose thee an house where it shall please thee, and I will that thou dine with me this day.
And she answered and said: Father, require of me no such thing, for by adventure some evil suspicion might come thereof. And also the resplendour of your good renomee might be thereby impaired.
To whom the bishop answered: We shall be many together, and I shall not be with you alone, and therefore there may be no suspicion of evil. Then they came to the table, and were set, that one against that other, and the other folk here and there, and the bishop entendeth much to her, and beheld her alway in the visage, and he marvelled of her great beauty. And thus as he fixed his eyes on her his courage was hurt, and the ancient enemy, when he saw the heart of him, hurt [him] with a grievous dart. And this devil apperceived it and began to increase her beauty more and more; insomuch that the bishop was then ready for to require her to sin when he might.
Then a pilgrim came and began to smite strongly at the gate or door, and they would not open it. Then he cried and knocked more strongly; and the bishop asked of the woman if she would that the pilgrim should enter.
And she said; Men should ask first of him a question, grievous enough, and if he could answer thereto, he should be received, and if he could not, he should abide without, and not come in, as he that were not worthy but unwitting.
And all agreed to her sentence, and enquired which of them were sufficient to put the question. And when none was found sufficient, the bishop said: None of us is so sufficient as ye, dame, for ye pass us all in fair speaking, and shine in wisdom more than we all; propose ye the question.
Then she said: Demand ye of him, which is the greatest marvel that ever God made in little space.
And then one went and demanded the pilgrim. The pilgrim answered to the messenger that it was the diversity and excellence of the faces of men: for among all so many men as have been sith the beginning of the world unto the end, two men might not be found of whom their faces were like and semblable in all things.
And when the answer was heard, all they marvelled and said that this was a very and right good answer of the question. Then the woman said: Let the second question be proposed to him, which shall be more grievous to answer to, for to prove the better the wisdom of him, which was this: Whether the earth is higher than all the heaven?
And when it was demanded of him the pilgrim answered: In the heaven imperial where the body of Jesu Christ is, which is form of our flesh, he is more high than all the heaven.
Of this answer they marvelled all when the messenger reported it, and praised marvellously his wisdom. Consequently she said the third question, which was more dark and grievous to assoil. For to prove the third time his wisdom, and that then he be worthy to be received at the bishop's table, demand and ask of him; How much space is from the abysm unto the same heaven.
Then the messenger demanded of the pilgrim, and he answered him: Go to him that sent thee to me and ask of him this thing, for he knoweth better than I, and can better answer to it, for he hath measured this space when he fell from heaven into the abysm, and I never measured it. This is nothing a woman but it is a devil which hath taken the form of a woman.
And when the messenger heard this, he was sore afraid and told tofore them all this that he had heard. And when the bishop heard this and all other, they were sore afraid. And anon forthwith, the devil vanished away tofore their eyes.
And after, the bishop came again to himself, and reproved himself bitterly, weeping, repenting and requiring pardon of his sin, and sent a messenger for to fetch and bring in the pilgrim, but he found him never after. Then the bishop assembled the people, and told to them the manner of this thing, and prayed them that they would all be in orisons and prayers, in such wise that our lord would show to some person who this pilgrim was which had delivered him from so great peril.
And then it was showed that night to the bishop that it was St. Andrew which had put him in the habit of a pilgrim for the deliverance of him. Then began the bishop more and more to have devotion and remembrance to St. Andrew than he had tofore.
The Provost Who Took from the Church of St. Andrew
The provost of a city had taken away a field from the church of St. Andrew, and by the prayer of the bishop he was fallen into a strong fever. And then he prayed the bishop that he would pray for him, and he would again yield the field. And when the bishop had prayed for him, and he had his health, he took the field again.
Then the bishop put himself to prayer and orisons, and brake all the lamps of the church, and said: There shall none of them be lighted till that our Lord hath venged him on his enemy, and that the church have recovered that which she hath lost.
And then the provost was strongly tormented with fevers, and sent to the bishop by messengers that he should pray for him, and he would yield again his field and another semblable.
Then the bishop answered: I have heretofore prayed for him, and God heard and granted my prayer, and when he was whole, he took from me again the field. And then the provost made him to be borne to the bishop, and constrained him for to enter into the church for to pray. And the bishop entered into the church, and anon the provost died, and the field was re-established unto the church.
Et sic est finis. [And this is the end.]
For other saints, see the index to this Golden Legend website.
Scanned by Robert Blackmon. firstname.lastname@example.org.
This text was taken from the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.
Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.
E-text © Paul Halsall, September 2000
Reformatted with paragraphs, rubrics, italics, and insertions to cover lacunae by Richard Stracke, email@example.com