Icon of St. Andrew the General - (1AN16)

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Commemorated August 19

Little is known about his early life except that he was a Syrian by birth and a military commander in the Roman army during the reign of emperor Maximian (284–305). When a large Persian army invaded the Syrian territories, the governor Antiochus entrusted St. Andrew with the command of the Roman army, giving him the title of "Stratelates" ("Commander"). Invoking Christ to aid him and a small detachment of pagan soldiers in battle, St Andrew proceeded against the adversary and routed the numerous host of Persians. Although he gloriously returned to Antioch, having gained a total victory, certain men denounced him to the governor Antiochus, saying that he was a Christian who had converted the soldiers under his command to his faith.

Andrew was summoned to trial and then tortured. Some of his soldiers were crucified while others were locked in prison. Antiochus sent the report of charges to the emperor to decide whether to impose the death sentence upon the imprisoned commander. The emperor, who knew how the army loved St. Andrew, feared a rebellion, thus freeing them, while secretly ordering their execution on different pretexts.St. Andrew went with his faithful soldiers to Tarsus to be baptized by the local bishop Peter and Bishop Nonos of Beroea, but later fled towards mount Taurus after local persecutions in the Cilician city. In a deep gorge inside the mountains, the Roman army ambushed them, slaughtering St. Andrew and all of the 2,593 soldiers that were with him on that day.