San Andrés and the Eurobasket Championship

After I went to the museum, I stepped across the courtyard to one of the cite’s oldest churches called San Andrés (or St. Andrew’s).   Saint Andrew was one of Jesus’ disciples and the brother of Peter.  He was a fisherman, but spent most of his life preaching the word of God.  They say he preached in a lot of places, possibly even Spain, but the same went for St. James and he probably never set foot in Spain.  St. Andrew probably evangalized a land called Scythia which was not a town in upstate New York which specializes in bars with pool tables and aiding aging hippies in their waning hours but a region north and east of Iran.   It was a kind of boondocks for the apostle, so he moved over to Greece and wound up in the area known as Achaea.  Things didn’t work out for him there, as he was crucified.  They tied him to the cross instead of nailing him so that it would take him longer to die and suffer more.  That wasn’t a nice thing to do.  Later on it was suggested that the X-shaped cross was used for him, but that seems to be a lie.   Still, it was a popular one and they kept it as a symbol of the man ever since, which is why the Scottish flag has a blue field divided by a white X known as the cross of St. Andrew, the patron of that country.  He is also the patron saint of Russia, Ukraine and even Romania.  In Madrid he has a church.   Built in the 12th Cenutry, the original structure is no longer there as the church underwent many changes over the years.  It is most closely linked to San Isidro and Santa Maria de la Cabeza because they frequented the temple, which made sense considering they lived next door.   The saints’ remains were kept there for centuries before being tranferred to the Church of San Isidro.  San Andrés was set on fire in 1936 which was an annoyingly common habit in the early days of the Spanish Civil War and much of the interior had to be restored during the 70s and 80s.  It’s a bit heavy-handed inside, not my favorite church, but worth a look. 

       This evening Spain played and won the finals of the European Basketball Championship.  They were favorites and they delivered.  This is a marked change from years ago when Spain was rarely favorite in anything related to sports and delivered more seldomly still.  In fact, heading into a game expected to win often spelled doom.  But this is a new generation of Spaniard.  A different breed of cat, as they would say back home.   They were the best team and the best team won.  Congratulations!