What is a Patron Saint?

Saint Andrew the First-Called

Saint Andrew the First-Called

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,



Saint Andrew the First-called and Apostle was from Bethsaida of Galilee; he was the son of Jonas and the brother of the Holy Apostle Peter, the chief of the Apostles. He had first been a disciple of Saint John the Baptist and Forerunner; afterwards, on hearing the Baptist's witness concerning Jesus, when he pointed Him out with his finger and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (St. John 1:29, 36), he straightway followed Christ, and became His first disciple; wherefore he is called the First-called of the Apostles. After the Ascension of the Savior, he preached in various lands; and having suffered many things for His Name's sake, he died in the city of Patras of Achaia, Greece, where he was crucified on a cross in the shape of an "X", the first letter of "Christ" in Greek; this cross is also the symbol of Saint Andrew.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of St. Andrew. Fourth Tone

AsS the first-called of the Apostles, and brother of their leader, O Andrew, entreat the Master of all that peace be granted unto the world and great mercy to our souls.


Kontakion Hymn of St. Andrew. Second Tone

Let us acclaim the namesake of courage, that herald of things divine, the first-called of the Savior's disciples, and the kinsman of Peter, for as he formerly cried out to him, so doth he now to us: Come, we have found the Desired One.



"The fourth source of the Church's Holy Tradition, another double source, is the lives of the Saints and the teaching of one particular group of Saints who are called the Fathers (a group which includes some mothers).

In every generation in the life of the Church, there have been people who live the teachings of Christ faithfully, heroically, who attain while living in this world the destiny for which we as Christians believe God has created us: to share His own life.

The ultimate promise concerning the Christian revelation is that it is true. "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free." Free from what? Free from error, free from sin, free from emptiness, and ultimately free from death in the negative sense. Those are the things that God frees us from. But He does this so that we can be free for something that is indescribably greater: to reach our destiny as partakers of the life of God Himself.

There are those in the Church who by their faithful obedience and perfection of faith, hope, and love for God, are the greatest examples. We could call them the heroes of the Church. The holy icons in our churches show us the Saints from every age. Those Saints are present in the Church, are sources of the Church's experience to show the people who belong to the Church of God the way to life, the way of Truth, to show each one of us that yes, it is possible. It is possible for the Saints and it is possible for us to reach this destiny that God calls us to.

A certain group of those Saints is called the Fathers. By a Father of the Church, we mean one who by his (or her) wisdom in teaching or defending Church doctrine, often at the cost of his/her life or in the face of great suffering, bore witness to the Holy Tradition of the Church. When we read the Gospels, we say yes, what is written in the Gospel here is what the Church has always believed. In the same sense, when we read the holy writings of the great Fathers, we can find in them a faithful and true testimony to what the Church has always believed and experienced about God." (Metropolitan Kallistos Ware).

As "friends of God", the Saints of our Church, intercede for the salvation of all. In other words they supplicate the Almighty God to show mercy on us and to save us.

Eight days following the birth of a child of Orthodox parents, the parish priest is called to offer the Christian name to the child.  It is that same name the child will be given at his/her baptism. The name is almost always of one of the Saints of the Church which will become the Patron (protector and intercessor) Saint of that child.

From the earliest days of the Christian Church, groups of the faithful (families, parishes, regions, countries) have chosen a particular holy person who has passed on to intercede for them with God. Seeking the intercession of a patron saint does not mean that one cannot approach God directly in prayer, rather, it's like asking a friend or relative to pray for you and with you to God, while you also pray--except, in this case, the friend is already in Heaven, and can pray to God for us without ceasing.

Some Christians argue that patron saints detract from the emphasis on Christ as our Savior. Why approach a mere man or woman with our petitions when we can approach Christ directly? But that confuses Christ's role as Mediator between God and man with the role of intercessor. Holy Scripture urges us to pray for one another; and, as Christians, we believe that those who have died still live, and therefore are capable of offering prayers as we do.

In fact, the holy lives lived by the saints are themselves testimony to the saving power of Christ, without Whom the saints could not have risen above their fallen nature.


The practice of adopting patron saints goes back to the building of the first public churches in the Roman Empire, most of which were built over the graves of Holy Martyrs. The churches were then given the name of the Holy Martyr, and the Holy Martyr was especially was expected to act as an intercessor for the Christians, who worshiped there.

Soon, Christians began to dedicate churches to offer holy men women--saints--who were not martyrs. Today, we still place holy relics of a saint or saints inside the Altar Table in a crypt upon the consecration of the local church by the Metropolitan or Bishop, and we dedicated that church to a patron saint. That's what it means to say that your or our church is Saint Andrew's or Saint George's or Saint Katherine's.

A patron saint is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of nation, place, craft, activity, class, or person. Since the time of the early Christians up to the present, a vast number of patron saints have been recorded.

Thus, the patron saints of churches, and more broadly or regions and countries, have generally been chosen because of some connection of that saint to that place--he had preached the Gospel there, he had died there; some or all of his holy relics had been found there or transferred there.


All Orthodox Christians have their own patron saints--first and foremost being those whose name they were given at their baptism. The Orthodox Christian should know the life of their patron saint and emulate his/her devotion to Christ, our Lord and Savior. Each Orthodox Christian should have a holy icon of the patron saint and know when he/she is commemorated in the Orthodox calendar and observe that day by attending the Divine Liturgy and receiving Holy Communion on his/her names day. Celebrating instead one's birthday is not part of our Christian Tradition but rather it is a pagan practice.


We honor our patron saint Andrew on November 30th each year. However, as stewards of the Saint Andrew's parish we should honor him throughout the year by participating in the worship of our church, serving him with faith and humility through the various ministries, programs, organizations, committees, etc. When someone was asked why he was helping at a church function, his answer was, because I love St. Andrew, and hope, and pray, for his blessings on me and my family.

It is a good practice to venerate our patron saint and seek their intercessions for us and for our families. The saints are powerful intercessors, and, in this day and age when they are so often neglected or even forgotten, we could use their prayers more than ever.


Against demons and witchcraft

* Ss Cyprian and Justina (October 2nd)

Against the plague

* St. Bessarion of the Saviour, Archbishop of Larissa (September 5th)

* St. Haralambos (February 10th)

* St. Marina the Great Martyr (July 17th)

Delivery from sudden death

* Saint Barbara the Great Martyr (December 4th)

For animals and livestock

* Holy Martyr Mamas (September 2nd)

* St. Tryphon: geese (February 1st)

* St. Modestus of Jerusalem (December 18th)

For Captives and court cases

* Saint George the Great Martyr (April 23r)

* St. Onouphrios the Great (June 12th)

* St. Simeon the God-Receiver (February 3rd)

For care and protection of infants

* Saint Stylianos (November 26th)

For chastity and help in carnal warfare

* St. Mary of Egypt (April 1st)

* St. Susanna (Old Testament; December 17th)

* Holy Martyr Ignatios of Athos (October 8th)

For children

*  St. Nicholas of Myra (December 6th)

For finding employment

* Saint Xenia of St. Petersburg (January 24th)

For finding things

* St. Menas the Great Martyr of Egypt (November 11th)

* St. Phanourios the Great Martyr (August 27th)

For help in distress or poverty

* St. John of Kronstadt (December 20th)

* St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (December 6th)

* St. John the Almsgiver of Alexandria (November 12th)

For marital difficulties

* Venerable Schema-monastics Cyril and Mary (January18th), parents of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh (September 25th).

* Ss Peter and Fevronia of Muron: also for newlyweds (June 25th)

For meeting a difficult situation

* Holy Archangel Raphael (November 8th)

* Ss Cosmas and Damianos and their brothers Anthimus, Leontius, and Evropius of Arabia (October 17th)

* St. Panteleimon and Hermolaus (July 27th and July 26th)

* St. Nektarios of Aegina (November 9th)

* The Holy Unmercenaries and Healers

For mental disorders

* St. Anastasia (October 12th)

* St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia; the possessed (August 16th)

* St. Naum of Ochrid (June 20th)

For patient endurance of affliction

* Righteous Job the Much-Suffering (May 6th)

* Holy Martyrs of Sevastia: especially in freezing cold weather

* St. Pimen the Much-Suffering of Kievo-Pechersk (August 7th)

For safe childbirth

* Saint Eleftherios (August 4th and December 15th)

For travelers

* St. John the Russian: for transport, auto, buses (May 27th)

* St. Nicholas of Myra: in general, and specifically for sea travel (December 6th)

* St. Niphon, Patriarch of Constantinople: for safety at sea (August 11th)

For workers in hospitals

* Holy Unmercenaries

* St. Dositheus, Disciple of Abba (Father) Dorotheos (February 19th)

For young people

* Holy Great Martyr Demetrios the Wonderworker (October 26th)

To have a child

* St. Anna, Mother of the Theotokos (September 9th)

* St. Elizabeth, Mother of the Saint John the Baptist and Forerunner (September 5th)

* St. Irene of Chrysovantou (July 28th)

* St. Savva the Sanctified of Palestine (December 5th)

* St. Symeon the Myrrh-streamer, father of St. Savva of Serbia (February 13th)

[These are just some of the saints who we turn to for intercessions and prayers at specific time and need.]


With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George