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

The feast of the founding fathers of the Church:

Archdiocese of Brisbane

Two pillars of Christian discipleship:

Diocese of Chalan Kanoa

Two separate columns of a single Church:

Christian Media Center – English

Christian tradition has always considered Saint Peter and Saint Paul to be inseparable: indeed, together, they represent the whole Gospel of Christ. In Rome, their bond as brothers in the faith came to acquire a particular significance. Indeed, the Christian community of this City considered them a kind of counterbalance to the mythical Romulus and Remus, the two brothers held to be the founders of Rome. A further parallel comes to mind, still on the theme of brothers: whereas the first biblical pair of brothers demonstrate the effects of sin, as Cain kills Abel, yet Peter and Paul, much as they differ from one another in human terms and notwithstanding the conflicts that arose in their relationship, illustrate a new way of being brothers, lived according to the Gospel, an authentic way made possible by the grace of Christ’s Gospel working within them. Only by following Jesus does one arrive at this new brotherhood: this is the first and fundamental message that today’s solemnity presents to each one of us, the importance of which is mirrored in the pursuit of full communion, so earnestly desired by the ecumenical Patriarch and the Bishop of Rome, as indeed by all Christians.

Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, 29 June 2012

Patron saints of the city where they were martyred:


Where Peter and Paul were held captive before their deaths:

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