Today we commemorate St. Andrew the First Called. He was a fisherman by trade and the brother of The Chief apostle St. Peter. When St. John the Baptist preached the message of repentance by the Jordan River, St. Andrew responded to his call and became his disciple, and soon after became the first disciple of Christ Himself, through the teachings and directions of the Holy Forerunner.
Soon after, St. Andrew told his brother Peter of the good news–the long awaited Messiah was here. After the glorious death and resurrection of Christ, St. Andrew spread the gospel far and wide. Eventually, St. Andrew was crucified like His beloved Savior, but in the shape of an “X”.
This Martyr, who was from Antioch in Syria, contested during the reign of Gallienus, about the year 260. Through the working of the evil one, his friendship with a certain Christian priest named Sapricius was turned to bitter hatred. Nikiphoros, repenting of his enmity, tried both through intermediaries and in person to be reconciled with Sapricius, but to no avail. Later, when the persecution broke out under Valerian and Gallienus, Sapricius was seized as a Christian. When Saint Nikiphoros learned that Sapricius had been arrested by the pagans and was enduring torments for Christ, he sent intermediaries to Sapricius, begging his forgiveness; but Sapricius would not forgive him. Later, as Sapricius was being taken to beheading, Nikiphoros, hoping that Sapricius, at his end, in such a holy hour, would at last forgive him, met him on the way, fell before him, and fervently asked his forgiveness; but Sapricius forgave him not. Wherefore, though Sapricius had passed through many sufferings, and the crown of martyrdom was now awaiting him, because he disdained the chief commandments of love and forgiveness, the grace of God, which had been strengthening him in his torments, departed from him, and he told his executioners he would sacrifice. Nikiphoros immediately confessed Christ before them, and being himself beheaded, took the crown that Sapricius had cast away.
“Herman of Alaska was a Russian Orthodox monk from Valaam Monastery in Russia who traveled with eight other monks in 1793 to bring the Gospel to the native Aleuts and Eskimos in the Aleutian Islands. As part of the Russian colonization of the Americas, Russians had been exploring and trading there since at least 1740. Thus, he marks the first arrival of Orthodox Christian missionaries in North America. He preached the love of Christ to the Aleutians and drew many to the Church through his charitable life, caring for their orphans, building a school, and frequently defending them from the injustices and exploitation of the Russian traders. He was known to them as Apa which means “Grandfather.” He lived most of his life as the sole resident of Spruce Island, a tiny wooded island near Kodiak Island.” (OrthodoxWiki)