St. Peter and St. Paul

With different backgrounds and separate missions, St. Peter and St. Paul helped the early Church grow by exhibiting the necessary apostolic courage to proclaim the Gospel in the face of brutal persecution.

St. Peter was a fisherman who answered Jesus’ call to follow him, taking a prominent role among the original twelve Apostles. He was present during the most important events of Jesus’ ministry.

Originally named Simon, Jesus made him the leader of the Apostles, giving him a new name that means “the rock”. Sometimes written as Cephas or Kephas, Peter was the first Pope on which Jesus would build his Church.

St. Paul, or Saul of Tarsus, was a brilliant Jewish teacher who fiercely persecuted Jesus’ Church. He was present during the stoning of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

After encountering the risen Jesus, Paul experienced a dramatic conversion. Now called to preach the Gospel to non-Jewish people, he travelled to the most important cities of the time and wrote many letters which are included in the New Testament.

St. Peter and St. Paul are patron saints of Rome, the city where they had brought the Christian faith and where they were both martyred under the emperor Nero between 64 and 67 AD.

These two pillars of the Catholic Church are celebrated together on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles, on June 29 each year.

Bringing the faith to Rome:

Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA

After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, “My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the Gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the holy Spirit just as He did us. He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts. Why, then, are you now putting God to the test by placing on the shoulders of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.” The whole assembly fell silent, and they listened while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders God had worked among the Gentiles through them.

Acts 15: 7-12

A providential partnership of unlikely candidates:

St. Paul Center

Indispensible figures from the early Church:

Bishop Robert Barron

Such is not the case for Simon Peter when he confesses Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, for Jesus responds solemnly: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in Heaven.” Similarly Paul will write, regarding his conversion on the road to Damascus, “When He who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…” “and in the synagogues immediately [Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.'” From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ’s divine sonship will be the center of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church’s foundation.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 442

Two pillars of Christian discipleship:

Diocese of Chalan Kanoa

Two separate columns of a single Church:

Christian Media Center – English

The Fathers loved to compare them to two pillars supporting the Church as a visible construction. According to ancient tradition, the liturgy celebrates them together, commemorating their glorious martyrdom on the same day: Peter, whose tomb is on this Vatican Hill, and Paul, whose tomb is venerated in the vicinity of the Ostian Way. They both sealed with their blood the witness they bore to Christ by their preaching and ecclesial ministry. Today’s liturgy clearly emphasizes this witness and gives us a glimpse of the profound reason why it was necessary for the faith professed by the lips of the two Apostles to be also crowned with the supreme test of martyrdom.

Pope John Paul II, Homily, 29 June 1997

Patron saints of the city where they were martyred:


Where Peter and Paul were held captive before their deaths:

Currents News

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Arguing like a Catholic:

Ascension Presents

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