St. Andrew Stratelates, Pray For Us!

The Roman soldier was martyred during the persecution of Maximian in the third century.

St. Andrew Stratelates
St. Andrew Stratelates (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

St. Andrew Stratelates was a third-century Roman military commander who was martyred for his faith in Christ during the reign of Emperor Maximian (284-305). His feast day is Aug. 19.

When the Persian army invaded Rome’s Syrian territories, the local governor Antiochus gave Andrew the title “Stratelates,” or commander, and ordered him to counter the invasion. Andrew selected a small detachment of soldiers and headed off to battle. Andrew had not yet accepted baptism, but believed in the power of Jesus Christ. He told his soldiers their pagan gods could not help them, but that they should instead invoke Jesus. They obeyed, and Andrew and his men routed the numerically superior Persians.

Word came back to Antiochus that Andrew was using his position to convert his soldiers to Christianity, which Rome had not yet legalized. Andrew publicly admitted his faith in Christ, and he was tortured and imprisoned. One of his tortures, it was said, was laying him on a bed of white-hot copper, which cooled when he sought the help of the Lord. Some of his men were crucified and others were imprisoned.

As Andrew was popular with the people he and his surviving men were freed at the emperor’s command, and they went to Tarsus to be baptized. But Antiochus secretly ordered them overtaken by the Roman army and put to death. Andrew and the 2,593 soldiers with him were captured and executed.

As Andrew was preparing for death, he asked the Lord to have a curative spring appear at the place of their death. The spring appeared, and many came to seek healing through drinking the water.