Blog, Excerpts

Saint Andrew: An Excerpt

Pieces of Andrew are spread all over, like morsels of bread that guide us somewhere. Some of his bones — a pinkie, the top of his cranium — are in Greece, along with bits of the cross on which he was martyred. Some of him found their way to Italy, in the Amalfi Cathedral, after a sojourn in Constantinople. Maybe the Empress Helena had them gift wrapped before sending them off, though even more likely is that towards the end she was sick of saints’ bones rattling around the imperial treasury, croaking in the way bones do, about where they’ve been and what they’ve suffered. And Andrew suffered so much.

A man named Regulus took to sea with a kneecap, an upper arm bone, three fingers and a tooth, presumably St Andrew’s, though how could he know? Regulus dreamt once to hide Andrew’s bones, and then dreamt again to sail with them, as far West as he could go, “to the ends of the earth,” which ended up being Fife, as seemed only fitting, where he was shipwrecked, there being little else to do in Fife. The dream instructed Regulus to build a shrine to Saint Andrew, so he did.

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