As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. (Mark 1:29) – Saint Andrews Church
Admission Saint Andrews Church:
For arrangements, call Father Pialatus at 04-359424 Saint Andrews Church
Saint Andrews Church is located in the old city of Acre. It sits on the southwest side of the city on Philippe Auguste Street, north of the Templars tunnel. Saint Andrews Church is located behind the first row of houses that meet the water’s edge on the south west side. Its large bell tower can be seen far above the surrounding, shorter houses.
The small entrance, inside an alley, opens up to the outer corridor (called a Narthex). There is a black door at the end of the hall. That leads to the Greek Catholic Archbishopric (where the Archbishop lives). The actual entrance to the cathedral is to the left of the Archbishopric. An unassuming courtyard is to the right.
The interior of Saint Andrews Church is by far the most ornate of the churches in Acre. It has beautifully adorned stairs for the lavish choirs. The gilded domes with mosaics of Biblical scenes and saints are breathtaking.
The bell tower stands high upon the second story. The second level is closed for much needed repairs; however the bell tower is still an exquisite site far above the rooftops of the city. The magnificent bell that used to be in the tower can be seen on the side stairs leading to the second floor. It is made of cast iron and monolithic in its size.
The courtyard of Saint Andrews Church has a head from a statue embedded in the rock wall. Legend has it that it is the head of a John the Baptist statue left over from the Crusader church that once stood where Saint Andrews Church now dwells. There are also a few chairs, tables and a stair case leading to the second floor.
The Templar Knights settled in the 12th century, after the fall of Jerusalem. Among other things, the Templars built the Church of Santa Anna, in commemoration of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The church was then enlarged into a grand cathedral by the 13th century.
In 1291, the Mamluks came through Acre and destroyed most of the Templar Knight’s structures. Luckily, the shell of this church and the arched halls stood until the 18th century.
The Greek Catholic church split from the Greek Orthodox Church in 1724. In 1765, the Greek Catholic church (Melkites) built over the destroyed Santa Anna’s. They used the original stone, so it is still really hard to tell which portions are crusader structures and which are more modern in origin.
Saint Andrews Church is open to the public and currently serves the Melkite community living in Acre. The second story is still in ruins, but the Melkites plan to rebuild as funds allow. The church is named after Andrew, one of Jesus’ disciples.