Hyacinth vs. Andrew the Fisherman

We wind up another full week of Lent Madness action with Hyacinth squaring off against Andrew the Fisherman for a shot at the Elate Eight.

Yesterday, Albert Schweitzer removed any doubts as he defeated Thomas the Apostle 60% to 40%.

By the way, if you're looking to refresh your memory by re-reading the first round write-ups, just go to the bracket tab, and scroll down. Underneath the bracket you'll find links to all the previous battles.

We hope everyone has a full and faithful weekend, and we'll see you bright and early Monday morning as Kassia faces Joseph of Arimathea.

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Accounts about St. Hyacinth tell of his life of goodness and service from his very birth. From his childhood of nobility, he was educated by teachers who his parents ensured would protect his innocent and loving disposition until he entered the Dominican order as a preacher in the 13th century. He preached all along the Northern Countries, including Poland, Lithuania, Prussia, and Moravia.

Many miracles are attributed to Hyacinth, including one where he led villagers escaping a siege in Kiev. The frantic people, fearful (justifiably so) and fleeing the Tartar onslaught, followed Hyacinth to the great river Dnieper. The people became more frantic with their escape route seemingly blocked, yet Hyacinth calmly prayed, then invited the people to follow him. Understandably cautious, the people hesitated. Hyacinth stepped on the water and began to cross, leaving footprints in the water, but not sinking into the river. Everyone crossed the river – walking on the water and following the footprints of Hyacinth. Even now, legend holds that when the water is low, Hyacinth’s footprints remain on the water's surface.

Hyacinth’s miraculous relationship with rivers continued on a journey to Vicegrad to preach. When he reached a river, he could not find a bridge, a narrow place to cross, or even a boat willing to take him to the other side, as the water was high and dangerous. Hyacinth spread his cloak on the water and floated safely to the other side, then sent his cloak back to retrieve his companions, as well. The dry, prayerful party continued on to their destination and work of Christ.

For over forty years Hyacinth traveled to countries in northern Europe, preaching, establishing monasteries, and helping those in need. In 1257, he returned to the monastery he founded in Krakow. Although he himself was very ill, he insisted on celebrating Mass on the eve of the Feast of The Assumption. He prepared himself to celebrate, reciting the psalm of the day: "In thee, O Lord, have I hoped." Hyacinth celebrated the Feast, then collapsed at the Altar. He was anointed at the foot of the Altar where he lay, then died on the Feast Day of The Assumption.

For a man who is known for his preaching, we have no surviving sermons of his, no quotes, and no writings. His legacy is not in the words he preached, but the impact they had. His words of Good News inspired countless people to establish monasteries and convents for places of prayer, safety, and care. He reminds us today of the importance of preaching to share the Gospel with faith, humility, and passion.

Hyacinth was canonized some 300 years after his death, and was the seventh Dominican raised to sainthood. He is the only Polish saint whose statue is on Bernini’s colonnade surrounding St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

Laurie Brock

Andrew the Fisherman

St. Andrew, as previously established, was a disciple of Jesus, before witnessing the resurrection, and going out to spread the gospel to the ends of the Earth. According to the Golden Legend, he welcomed his death with the words “Cross, sanctified by the body of Christ. Good Cross, long desired always, I loved you and wished to embrace you. Welcome me and bring me to my master.” Tradition alternately sends him to Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Cyprus and Scotland, before his martyrdom. (Have fishing boat, will travel, evidently.)

Even after death, St. Andrew’s relics also trekked all across Europe  His skull was exhumed after Constantinople became Istanbul, and returned to Patras, but the rest of his body was sent to the Amalfi Coast for safekeeping (and a relaxing sea breeze) in 1208. The Archbishop of Amalfi gifted Scotland with a shoulder blade said to be Andrew’s in 1879, and Pope Paul VI presented further bits of him in 1969, which we can only imagine they were extremely excited about.

It should be noted that the Scottish themselves have their own tradition for where Andrew went on his post-mortality journey. According to them, a Greek monk named St. Rule (or Regulus) had a vision in the 6th century, commanding him to take Andrew to “the ends of the earth.” So he departed from Patras, where Andrew had been killed, and eventually landed at Fife, clutching Andrew’s kneecap, upper arm, three fingers and a tooth.

In 832, an outnumbered Pictish king prayed for help against his Angle foe, and saw a saltire in the clouds. He took this as a sign of divine favor, and promised to make Andrew the patron of Scotland if he won.  This didn’t fully happen until 1320, but in the Declaration of Arbroath, which declared Scotland independent from England, Andrew was named the patron saint of Scotland as a thank-you. This story also inspired Scotland’s flag: the white saltire on the sky-blue background.

Megan Castellan

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44 comments on “Hyacinth vs. Andrew the Fisherman”

  1. Andrew‘s saltire cross
    Carried him to Jesus‘ arms.
    Bless me, my dear saint!

  2. ST. Andrew had the joy of fellowship with Christ and the golden halo of a disciple attested to in the Bible. Gentle Hyacinth does have a Bernini statue Rome but worked for his Lord faithfully and steadfastly his whole life without social media to help his struggle in the brackets.

  3. Voted for Andrew, though Hyacinth is also worthy. I have two nephews named Andrew, so representing for them.

  4. Both legends and famous missionaries, I'll go with the one who rescued Ukrainians from a marauding horde.

  5. I love both of these saints. I go with Thomas today, who shared my doubt, then went out to do the dangerous and loving work he was called to do. I also learned the word saltire.

  6. St. Andrew was the first Chosen by Jesus himself, and was Jesus’ close friend. Also, Andrew was my Dad’s middle name. He has my vote.

    I do love that St. Hyacinth was devoted to spreading the Gospel, and was rewarded with safe passage over water.

  7. While Hyacinth isn’t that bad,
    It’s just that he never wore plaid!
    Andrew’s saltire
    Made him hard to retire
    Slainte to our apostolic lad!

    (Again, holding John Cabot’s water here!)

  8. Two worthy saints who both brought people to Jesus. My vote today goes to Andrew, mostly out of sympathy, and in the earnest hope that come the glorious resurrection, his scattered bones find each other again.

  9. If a miracle takes 500 years to happen, how does one know that a specific prayer "caused" it? I wonder which of Andrew's travelling body parts might have made it to the New World. I voted for Hyacinth, because he was helping besieged people in Kiev. For the people of Ukraine and Poland--may they live long in thriving democracies--I vote for Hyacinth.

    1. I voted for Hyacinth. Walking on water trumps having your body parts end up all over Europe, IMO.

    2. I loved your comment about Andrew's body parts wandering the globe. Imagine what could be done with cremated bodies...so many parts for distribution. I was a Hyacinth fan despite the fact Andrew is my son's middle name.

  10. I don't know what it is, but I have not picked the right person on every one of these. Makes me sad.

    1. You picked the right person for you. You may not have picked the "winner" but you read something that spoke to you, so it was right! Remember that the pharisees didn't think Jesus was the right person, either.

  11. Relics. Eeuw. All this trafficking in shoulderblades, kneecaps, skulls and toes. I know Andrew should and will win, but Hyacinth got my protest vote today. And here just for fun are some of the lyrics from John Prine's Please Don't Bury Me, which perhaps at least give lips, I mean lip service, to better stewardship of what we leave behind:
    Please don't bury me
    Down in the cold cold ground
    No, I'd druther have 'em cut me up
    And pass me all around
    Throw my brain in a hurricane
    And the blind can have my eyes
    And the deaf can take both of my ears
    If they don't mind the size
    Give my stomach to Milwaukee
    If they run out of beer
    Put my socks in a cedar box
    Just get 'em out of here
    Venus de Milo can have my arms
    Look out! I've got your nose
    Sell my heart to the Junkman
    And give my love to Rose
    Give my feet to the footloose
    Careless, fancy free
    Give my knees to the needy
    Don't pull that stuff on me
    Hand me down my walking cane
    It's a sin to tell a lie
    Send my mouth way down south
    And kiss my *** goodbye

  12. Can we all please agree to use the Ukrainian spelling of "Kyiv" and not the Russian-based spelling "Kiev"?

    1. It was my understanding that "Kiev" was the Ukrainian spelling, that "Kyev" with the pronunciation "K-yev" was the Russian variant, which the Ukrainians rejected. However, I imagine that Ukrainians use a Cyrillic alphabet, making the Roman spelling ambiguous anyway.

    2. Also, the reference to the invaders should be "Tatars". Tartar (with the extra "r") is for what's on your teeth, or the sauce.

  13. I know my Scottish great-great grandmother only through family lore, and since she was also a traveler, I vote for St. Andrew.

  14. Is this a battle between Hyacinth and Andrew or between Laurie and Megan? What a competition!

  15. This was tough for me. I have difficulty with miracles. I also have difficulty with pieces of Saints' bodies showing up and being gifted. However, I'm Episcopalian and Scots; Andrew it is.

  16. Tough choice today, because Hyacinth's story really inspired me. But had to go with Andrew because he's the patron saint of Scotland, and I have a bit of Scottish heritage.

  17. Both are worthy candidates today. I voted for Hyacinth, not only because he continued the work of the disciples well into the 13th century in Eastern Europe, but because he also shares a name with a lovely flower whose strong, sweet scent continues to send his message of love and compassion to all those who pass by each Spring day.

  18. Ukraine could surely benefit from Hyacinth's holiness and escape from the Putin's Russians today!!
    Also, a donation of my eyes and ears (both sets in good working order at 87) I would be happy to hear about, but as part of a relics storage throughout the world I would not.

  19. I liked Hyacinth...lovely name...and planned to vote for him...but had to switch and go with Andrew since Scotland is my favorite country, I have been to St. Andrews several times and I have two woolen blankets with the St. Andrews pattern. I mean...it was meant to be, right?

  20. I've been reading "The Last Week" by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crosson, and that is why I must vote for Andrew the Fisherman. Jesus was passionate about the Kingdom of God and he invited those who would follow him on the way to also be passionate about the Kingdom of God. To me that has been and still is truly the Gospel.

  21. L. M. is really interesting and informative. Please comment on the art works featured.

  22. Both are worthy, but had to go with Hyacinth. Nice to read of a heroic eastern European rescuing Ukrainians. May Saint Hyacinth save them again.

  23. I just looked at the bracket and noticed a pretty hilarious typo that you may wish to correct. It's one of the mentions of Gertrude.

  24. I can't believe most Lent Madness voters are choosing against a saint who will trounce anyone in the Saintly Kitsch Round. Come on! Let's get behind Hyacinth and his Holy Pierogis!

  25. I would have loved to have voted early this morning but it would not let me select either Saint on my iPad and I didn’t feel like battling the frequently timing-out Captcha on my iPhone at the time.

    I shall try later on my MacBook and meanwhile who ever coded the website should look into making it iPad & iPhone friendly, like in years past.