Was Andrew crucified upside down?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

According to historical accounts and Christian tradition, Saint Andrew was indeed crucified upside down. This unique form of crucifixion, known as the Saint Andrew’s Cross or the saltire, is depicted with Andrew’s arms outstretched in a diagonal X shape, rather than the traditional vertical and horizontal cross.

The decision to crucify Andrew in this manner is said to have been at his own request. As the brother of Saint Peter and one of the Twelve Apostles, Andrew was a devout follower of Jesus Christ. He is believed to have preached the teachings of Jesus in various regions, including Greece and parts of Asia Minor.

Legend has it that Andrew was eventually arrested and brought to Patras, a city in Greece. There, he faced persecution and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. However, Andrew humbly requested to be crucified in a different manner than Jesus, feeling unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord and Savior. Thus, he was crucified on an X-shaped cross, with his feet above his head.

The exact details of his crucifixion are not widely documented, but it is believed that he endured immense suffering and pain during this torturous execution. Despite the agony, Andrew remained steadfast in his faith until the end, continuing to preach and profess his belief in Jesus Christ.

After his death, Andrew’s remains were said to have been buried in the city of Patras. Centuries later, in the 4th century AD, his relics were transferred to Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. However, following the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, some of Andrew’s relics were allegedly returned to Patras, where they reside today in the Cathedral of Saint Andrew.

The crucifixion of Saint Andrew upside down holds great significance in Christian symbolism. It serves as a powerful reminder of Andrew’s humility, his willingness to suffer for his faith, and his dedication to following Jesus even unto death. The image of the saltire, an X-shaped cross, has become a symbol associated with Saint Andrew and is featured prominently in the flag of Scotland, as he is considered the patron saint of Scotland.

The historical and religious accounts confirm that Saint Andrew was indeed crucified upside down, as a testament to his unwavering faith and his desire to distinguish his martyrdom from that of Jesus. His crucifixion on the saltire cross has left an indelible mark in Christian history and continues to inspire believers around the world.