Saint of the Day – 17 July – Saint Andrew Zorard OSB (c 980 – c 1008) Hermit, Benedictine Monk, Missionary, spiritual guide, ascetic. Born in c 980 in Opatowiec, Poland and diedin c 1010 in of natural causes. Patronages – Hungary, Nitra, Diocese of Nitra, Diocese of Tarnów, St Andrew Abbey in Cleveland. Also known as – Sverad, Svorad, Swierad, Swirad, Wszechrad, Zoerardus, Zoërard, Zurawek, Zórawek.
Andrew was born around 980 in Opatowiec, a small village in Poland. A tradition in the small village of Tropie holds, that in his youth he lived near there as a Monk. At around the year 1000, when he was 20 years old, he began living as a Hermit and a Missionary, evangelising in Olawa, Silesia (modern Poland). At some time, he also travelled to northern Hungary (Slovakia).
Around the year 1003 Andrew settled in St Hippolytus Monastery on Mount. Zobor near Nitra – then part of the Kingdom of Hungary, present day Slovakia. He became a Benedictine Monk in the Abbey. He took the name “Andrew” at his profession. He became the spiritual guide of St Benedict of Skalka (Died 1012). Andrew and Benedict, with the permission of their superior Philip, later left the Monastery and became Hermits in a cave along the Váh River.
Andrew died of natural causes around 1008. He practiced such severe austerities that, according to legend, the iron chain, which he wore wrapped around the belt, eventually grew into his flesh.
Benedict continued to live in the cave for three years until he was murdered by a gang of thieves looking for treasure. In 1083 Andrew’s relics were transferred to St.Emmeram’s Cathedral in Nitra where they remain to this day. A biography of Benedict and Andrew was written by Maurus of Nitra, Bishop of Pécs.
Andrew is venerated especially in Slovakia, Hungary and Poland,but also in diaspora communities of the United States. His feast day is 17 July but in some calendars he is venerated together with Benedict on 13 June.
King Géza I of Hungary declared him one of the Patron Saints of Hungary. As early as 1064, King Géza took the first steps towards his Canonisation. His cult was officially confirmed in July 1083 by Pope Gregory VII, thanks to the Hungarian King Ladislaus I.